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Speedway gearing up for reopening

Posted: May 31, 2012 - 3:57pm

The Gordon Park Speedway in Grovetown has been quiet since May 16 when the state fire marshal ordered it closed.

When violations have been fixed and the racing venue has been successfully reinspected, then it will reopen, the general manager said.

“We’re doing some improvements, doing what the state wants us to do,” said speedway general manager Brian Stewart, who first opened the park on Feb. 25. “We’re hoping to open in the next few weeks is what our game plan is.”

Stewart said he expects the track to have lost $30,000 from missed Saturday dates and repairs if it opens in mid-June.

Noise is what got Columbia County’s code enforcement division first involved and started the chain of events leading to the closure.

“The initial complaint came because of noise and obviously we had to address the noise,” said Richard Harmon, director of the development services division. “It ended up they were running beyond their allotted hours. It’s what initiated the whole thing. ... The actual legal closing of the races themselves is 11:30.”

The speedway’s biggest violations were operating without a Certificate of Occupancy and State of Georgia Race Track license.

“I don’t think they thought they were doing anything wrong,” Johnson said. “I think they just started their activities and didn’t realize everything they had to have.”

Stewart said it was a miscommunication.

“They said it was back in ‘04 when the track’s last inspection was done,” Stewart said. “Roy Rogers, which he’s retired, he told Eddie Dinkins, who is the land owner, that the state license was county regulated and didn’t have to have them. So we found out different, you know what I mean.”

Since May 16, they’ve been addressing the noted violations among which include repairs to the grandstand and improvements to fences to increase spectator safety.

“We’re working on the bleachers mainly, putting up a little fencing but that ain’t no big deal,” Stewart said. “The license we’ve already got. We’ve already got our permits, already got our business license transferred to my name and all that.”

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