A sign announcing a motor speedway at the Stevensville Wye has been taken down by the same group that put it up several months ago, but their dreams of establishing a track at the site are not dead, they say, just delayed.
“We took the sign down,” says Travis Panko, a member of the Bitterroot Motor Sports Association, the group that undertook the racetrack project. “We figure most people know what we want to do there by now.”
Panko adds that the group’s initial plans are still intact but have been delayed, as they wait for the results of a wetlands survey required by the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The wetlands study hasn’t been done yet and we can’t really go on until it is,” Panko notes. “We’re still checking some options.”
The group leased 50 acres just north of the Stevensville Wye in hopes of constructing a racetrack and running a series of races at the track during the late spring and summer months.
An earlier plan to establish a motor sports racetrack at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds was denied by the Ravalli County Commissioners. Neighbors in that area cited concerns about noise, dust and oil pollution. After the sign was erected near Stevensville, residents of the area around the proposed racetrack site also united in opposition to the proposal. Association members were told they would have to go through a formal subdivision review and other required assessments before any racetrack would be constructed. One of the critical reviews is to determine if there are any wetlands on the site and if any plant or animal species will be severely impacted by the racetrack construction.
A December meeting of the group was cancelled because of numerous holiday conflicts, but Panko says a meeting is set for Jan. 6 to discuss the next steps that the group needs to take to meet its goal of creating a Bitterroot Valley motor sports complex.