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Bloomsburg Town Council is holding a workshop on Wednesday, January 19th to get public input on two draft ordinances related to racing at the Fairgrounds. Following a short schedule of races in 2021, the Fair Association is planning on expanding the schedule in 2022. Area residents have expressed concerns about the noise and dust from the racing. The Chamber of Commerce has encouraged Town Council and the Fair Association to work together to find compromises that benefit the entire community.
As currently drafted, the noise ordinance would allow racing outside of Fair week on just five additional days, which could only be Fridays and Saturdays, with races ending by 10 p.m. Fair officials have stated that additional flexibility is needed in scheduling races so as not to conflict with other venues in the region. There are reportedly eleven race events scheduled for 2022, and organizers are looking to hold up to twenty events per season, which could be multiple days. Acknowledging that racing should not go late into the night, Fair officials are asking that races that may be delayed due to accidents or weather be allowed to conclude after 10 p.m., though none would be started after that time.
The noise limit for racing is set at 70 decibels at the property line. While all race vehicles will be required to have mufflers in 2022, the ability to meet that sound level is unclear. The Town is working to have readings taken with calibrated equipment in 2022. The Association is also exploring building a wall along a portion of the track to reduce the sound level for adjacent residents.
The proposed new dust control ordinance may have less debate. Following the first race of the 2021 season, the surface of the race track was changed and Fair officials feel the dust was reduced significantly with additional improvements planned for the coming season. The Chamber of Commerce has called for some additional definitions and clarity in the draft language.
The Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance and economic benefit of the Bloomsburg Fair and other activities that happen at the Fairgrounds throughout the year. The cancellation of the Fair twice in the past 10 years has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in economic impact to the area, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue specifically to the Town. The Fair Association is attempting to further utilize the Fairgrounds to generate activity and additional economic benefit with races. These activities should not create undue hardship or harm to the Bloomsburg community.
The Town’s public workshop will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on January 19th at the Bloomsburg Fire Hall.