Racetrack would be good for parish, study shows

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 1, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / Febuary 1, 1999

LAPLACE – The chances for a return of a motor racetrack to St. John theBaptist Parish shot upward with release this week of a study commissioned by the Parish Council.

The study, by Developmental Consulting Inc., concluded that with theworldwide interest in auto racing, establishment of a track here “will provide a family recreational and entertainment venue for the residents.”In addition, an annual economic impact of $50 million was projected, through lodging, food, gasoline, auto supplies, hardware and other services.

Construction would employ 135 construction workers and 15 permanent workers, as well as an additional 75 workers on event days.

Steve Nosacka, a Baton Rouge financial consultant, told the council, “Tracks are being developed as fast as communities can put the pieces together.”With other events ranging from festivals to outdoor concerts, business at the facility would go year-round. The study made no recommendations asto site, but Nosacka added that with a $5 million construction cost of the development, investors would have the cost paid back in five years.

“It makes sense for a developer,” Nosacka commented.

Parish Councilman Ranney Wilson, who pushed for the study, said later he is pushing for development of a site next to St. John Airport in Reserve,which would help bring in additional events such as air shows.

Isiah Jones of Northwest 13th Street, Reserve, isn’t excited about Wilson’s idea.

“We’re already concerned about the over-polluted area in which we live,” he said.

Jones said the parish does not need more traffic, fumes and noise.

“Relocation of residents ought to be a concern of this council,” he said.

In another matter, Parish Councilman Nickie Monica reported a cutting of the speed limit on West Fifth Street through Dupont Curve from 40 to 35 mph has been approved.

State highway department files took note of 22 accidents between July 1996 and June 1997, prompting the decision.

Also, the Parish Council agreed to raise the per-diem pay for certain appointed boards and establish per-diem pay for the remaining boards. Allwill be receiving an average of $40 per month. Members of the AirportAdvisory Committee, Animal Control Board, Civil Service Board and Recreation Board will begin receiving the pay.

Other boards, including Economic Development Committee, Utility Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment and Planning & Zoning Board, all received raises.

In other business, council chairman Duaine Duffy and vice-chairman Perry Bailey were re-elected to the same positions. Joel McTopy cast the lonedissenting vote, with Kevin Duhon absent.

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