Letters to the Pilot

Thursday, June 6, 2002

Why put the brakes on a raceway for Cherokee?

It is to my astonishment that members of this shrinking community would be so bold as to stop the growth of the city of Cherokee, deprive local businesses the opportunity of increasing revenues, and block the potential addition of new businesses that may spin off from new growth. Especially when those involved with the stoppage of this new enterprise (I am referring to the new race track project), are supposed to be community leaders in Cherokee. Some leadership. Maybe the community as a whole needs to reevaluate what community leadership means, and who they want leading the citizens of this community.

As in any new enterprises, there are always some draw backs that must be overcome. But first let's ask ourselves, has anyone in Alta lost property value because of the race track there, or has anyone in Jackson lost property values because of their proximity to the race track located there? To me this would give some credence to the complainants if such evidence was available or valid, but I would very much doubt that property values were so adversely affected. Let's reflect. Should not everyone located in the vicinity of the airport be allowed to sue the airport for adverse noise from airplanes coming in and going out of Cherokee; should not everyone located along the railroad line be allowed to sue the railroad for adversely affecting the value of their property because of noise; and, shouldn't everyone located along Highway 59 be allowed to sue the Iowa Transportation Department for allowing so much traffic to adversely affect their property values. The list goes on and on...

These "things" are necessary to the growth and prosperity of the community as a whole. And further, these things I have mentioned occur daily, while the race track project would create noise for one night a week over a three month period during the year.

Now let's look at another side of the coin. Cherokee is a community slowly shrinking from the lack of new entrepreneurship allowed into the community. Some may not agree, but the facts prove this to be true. Not that many years ago, Cherokee had nearly double the residents of say Storm Lake, for example. Today, Cherokee is about one third the size of Storm Lake, and other communities in northwest Iowa are also leaving Cherokee in the dust. Look at the growth of Sioux Center, which has nearly tripled its size over the last few years, and there are many more examples of urban growth throughout northwest Iowa. So why isn't Cherokee enjoying similar growth patterns? Because we have community leaders who are against the growth of their small, closely knit lives. Cherokee has community leaders that are only interested in new business when it benefits themselves, or entities that they can have control over. This new race track project symbolizes a step forward in the growth, expansion and increased

revenues for a struggling community.

This new race track, with a seating capacity of up to 4,500 patrons, would generate jobs for the community, and generate needed revenues. Even if the race track had only a 50 percent attendance rate, and those attending the events spent only $10 each in an existing business in Cherokee, that would mean that in one night a week in three months, an additional $270,000 in added annual revenue to businesses like McDonald's, Casey's, Kum and Go, Hy-Vee Deli, and the list goes on. Why should these businesses be suffered to lose that potential income because a few citizens are afraid that 12 days out of the year will ruin their property value? And many times, such large projects as the proposed race track create spin-off businesses...

Maybe the commercial businesses in Cherokee should file their own lawsuit to save this community?

David E. Jones,