By CRAIG HALL
Despite not being on the agenda, a large crowd attended the Heavener City Council meeting on Thursday to talk about bringing street racing to the town.
Present were mayor Troy Dyer, along with council members Melinda Ballantine, Joey Clubb, Gail Nichols and Jim Roll.
Several supporters of allowing street racing on Old U.S. Highway showed up along with local residents who voiced concerns about noise, heavy traffic and safety.
Jay Hill was the spokesman for the group supporting street racing.
He said the group hopes to hold street racing on the road to the east of Blue’s Park and the Reeder Thornton Agriplex. Hill said dates are not set and the events will be hopefully be held every other week, or every three weeks depending on events going on at the Park or the Agriplex.
“This will cost the city zero dollars,” Hill said. “The city or chamber will get the gate for all the people who come in.”
Hill said the group will pay for all improvements such as resurfacing the road at a cost of around $30,000 along with making arrangements for safety barriers along the side of the road.
He said it has not been determined the length of the races, but they would likely go one-eighth of a mile, which would have them stop just past the Agriplex. Any truck traffic will go on the new highway instead of the old highway for safety reasons.
At the most, the race length would be 1,320 feet. Barriers will hopefully be donated by the state since these do not meet state standards.
Hill said the noise would not be as loud as the Kansas City Southern trains which travel alongside the road and races would end at 9 to 10 p.m., whichever time is agreed upon by the group and the city.
Hill said 90 percent of the cars would be muffled to decrease noise.
Racers could be 16-years-old and up, but those under 18 would have to obtain parental permission.
The road is currently approximately 11 feet 7 inches wide and may have to be widened to 12 feet.
Hill said there could be between 25 cars to 2,000 racing. The Facebook page for the group grew to 2,000 members within 10 days of its launch.
Several opponents voiced concerns about the noise, traffic and lessening the property values.
Hill said none of the residents would be affected by not being able to get to their homes as the racers would be okay with turning around at the end of the race and returning to the start area on the same roadway.
A public hearing will be held to move forward. Because of the large crowd expected to attend, the event will be held at the Heavener PAC.
The council also approved a resolution calling for municipal elections for two ward seats, city treasurer and mayor.
The two wards up for election are Ward 1 with Roll and Ward 3 with Nichols. Eddie Freeman is the city treasurer and Dyer is the mayor.
In other action, the council approved a code violation for property owned by Albert Oglesby at 411 Walker for a dilapidated structure.
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