Note: This is part of a series.
Plenty of folks on Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula are worried about a NSACAR track that’s being pushed by a Florida corporation. At least two county commissioners think the deal is a rip-off for taxpayers, who would be responsible for financing $166 million of the project. Under the proposal, the corporation would also be exempted from certain taxes, be given land-use waivers, and be allowed keep taxes from ticket sales for NASCAR. In addition to the worrisome finances, a racetrack of that size—83,000 seats—would also strain roads and infrastructure in Kitsap County.
So it’s not surprising that plenty of locals are less than happy about the prospect of a gigantic speedway in their backyards. The opposition is a time-honored American tradition: a gathering of neighbors who want a say in their community. They don’t have corporate funding or a slick PR campaign, just a simple website, roots in the community, and a belief in local decision-making. “Our Board Room is the kitchen table of whatever member’s home we happen to be in,” their website says. They may just have a fighting chance.
But in a recent public hearing, county commissioners threw up their hands up at the mention of Initiative 933. If 933 passes, they admitted, land-use changes to accommodate the racetrack would be a fait accompli. Neighbors couldn’t do a thing about it.
Start your engines, Kitsap County residents. If I-933 passes, your semi-rural county will likely soon be home to the largest stadium in the Northwest—25 percent larger than Qwest Field and 75 percent larger than Safeco Field.