County OKs needed permit for Austin F1
Amid persistent complaints from residents near the future site of the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race, organizers secured a necessary permit from Travis County on Tuesday. County staffers also announced an additional $1.1 million in county-funded road work for race infrastructure.
|The Texas track has quite a bit of elevation change|
Several residents near Circuit of the Americas expressed concern during a public hearing about both noise and traffic issues. Donald A. Haywood said the weekend event will force regular customers away from his plant nursery and make it difficult to get home. "I've been trying to visualize in my mind how I am going to get in and out on race days," he said.
A few touted the race's anticipated economic benefits and pointed out the relatively brief inconvenience of traffic and noise nearby residents will face. "We all have to be good neighbors, and we have to be reasonable in what we consider," said Ron Wattinger, a Del Valle resident.
After the three-hour public hearing, County Judge Sam Biscoe approved the mass gathering permit needed for the race to proceed.
The race, just five months away, is expected to draw 250,000 to Elroy from Nov. 16 to 18, with 120,000 expected on Nov. 18, according to officials with Circuit of the Americas.
Tuesday was the first time officials detailed about $1.1 million of at least $5.2 million in spending on county road improvements around the track. The decision to pay for the improvements, made in mid-April, was a shift from officials' earlier insistence that organizers pick up the full tab for the work.
The county will spend about $600,000 to repave Elroy Road and about $485,000 to repave McAngus Road, said Steve Manilla, who oversees county transportation. Race organizers will pay more than $4.1 million to widen Kellam Road and then be reimbursed by the county, he said.
Commissioner Margaret Gomez, whose Precinct 4 includes the racetrack, said the county should spend the money on the improvements, calling it a "necessary investment."
The Kellam project might cost up to $500,000 more if additional land is needed to widen the road, Manilla said. How much the county will pay for any further improvements, including the expected widening of Elroy Road, has not been determined, he said. The Statesman