The city has yet to receive a proposal for a 75,000-seat NASCAR racetrack within its boundaries, but opponents and proponents are already revving their engines. About 300 people and the City Council took up one of the three basketball courts Monday night at the Commerce City Recreation Center to listen to more than 100 speakers either vent their criticism of a huge racetrack in their midst or voice their support.
Council members devoted more than three hours to the "citizen communication" period before moving on to their regular agenda. That time was dominated by residents who wanted to speak about the very early stages of the International Speedway Corp.'s interest in a Commerce City site for a racetrack.
A few proponents came decked out in their red-and-black Dale Earnhardt Jr. jackets and other racing paraphernalia.
Nearly 80 opponents encouraged the council to stop the racetrack before International Speedway even gets to the starting line. More than 50 signed up to speak in support of the idea.
International Speedway is looking at a 1,300-acre site on the east side of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
"I need a brave City Council that will stand up to these salesmen," said Michael Mastalka, who recently moved to Commerce City.
Many residents such as Mastalka live in the Reunion development, northwest of the proposed speedway.
"I would like to keep it peaceful," said Jennifer Clinksdale, who said she moved to the neighborhood to enjoy a tranquil lifestyle.
Tommy Maloney said his family expected to deal with aircraft noise from Denver International Airport and a nearby landfill when they moved to Commerce City. That's enough, he said.
"If I want to see a bunch of cars make left hand turns, I could watch my son do that in cul-de- sac," he said. Rocky Mountain News