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Speedway working to remedy violations

Posted: June 3, 2012 - 12:03am
Gordon Park Speedway has been closed while the owners work to fix county code violations.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Gordon Park Speedway has been closed while the owners work to fix county code violations.

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

It’s expected to reopen when problems noted by the fire marshal have been fixed and successfully re-inspected.

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

Stewart said he expects the track will have lost $30,000 in revenue from missed Saturday dates and repairs if they open in mid-June.

Columbia County’s code enforcement division first got involved because of noise complaints from track neighbors.

“The initial complaint came because of noise and obviously we had to address the noise,” said Richard Harmon, director of the Columbia County 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 (p.m.)”

Investigators checking on those complaints then found other problems.

“Basically, when we got out there we saw several other violations that didn’t really fall under our purview, but certainly we realized they were violations nonetheless,” County Administrator Scott Johnson said. “At that point, the county code enforcement department called in the state fire marshal, who is actually the licensing agency for racetracks.”

The biggest violations were the speedway was 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
basically a miscommunication.

“They said it was back in 2004 when the track’s last inspection was done,” Stewart said. “Roy Rogers, (who is) retired, he told Eddie Dinkins, who is the landowner, that the state license was county regulated and didn’t have to have them. So we found out different.”

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

“We’re working on the bleachers mainly, putting up a little fencing,” Stewart said. “The license we’ve already got. We’ve already got out permits, already got our business license transferred to my name and all that.”

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