Supporters of Bradenton Motorsports Park concerned over proposed housing development

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 8:15 PM EST
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BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - On Wednesday, racers were doing their practice runs at the Bradenton Motorsports Park in Eastern Manatee County. A proposed housing development on 2,700 acres adjacent to the racetrack property is on the minds of a lot of people.

“With 4,500 homes butted up against the racetrack, I mean, even with a wal,l they’re going to hear the noise,” said Jeannette Williams, the former owner of the race track. “Eventually they’re not going to be happy, even if they say they know the racetrack is here, eventually they’re going to want the noise to stop.”

Williams has been connected to the racetrack for decades. It has been around for more than 50 years. Williams says it provides a huge economic boost for the area, and it is a very important part of the community.

“Manatee County doesn’t have a lot of family-oriented sports that people can do together. Kids come out,” said Williams. “We have a junior dragster program for kids 8-16, that teaches them values like sportsmanship.”

Manatee County commissioners are expected to vote on a land use change on Thursday, which would allow Taylor Ranch to be filled with thousands of homes, three homes to an acre.

“It’s absolutely detrimental, we’re seeing it all over the United States,” said Doug Cook, a racer and manufacturer of high performance racing parts. “As cities grow, they grow outwards and they grow into areas such as this, which were never intended to have a racetrack next to a housing development. Fortunately for the racetrackers, it’s not easy to pick up and move, as it is to not build housing developments.”

There’s hope from racetrack supporters that this development could be stopped or find a middle ground.

“Understand that there’s got to be a place for people to live,” said Cook. “At the same point, respecting the track and it’s heritage, the fact that’s it’s here.”

Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge told ABC7 in a statement he wants to hear both sides. “Land use votes are important decisions that have serious ramifications for property owners. It is crucial that commissioners give all stakeholders an opportunity to present their position before we form our opinions”.

Manatee County Commissioners will be discussing this Thursday morning at 9 a.m.