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Gentlemen will not be starting their engines at Ebensburg race track
By: WJAC Web Staff
EBENSBURG, Pa. -- Cambria County fairground officials and Ebensburg residents are leaving the idea of bringing auto racing back to the fairgrounds racetrack in the dust.
Auto racing enthusiasts have spent several months lobbying Cambria County fair officials and Ebensburg borough leaders to allow the reopening of the racetrack at the fairgrounds and bringing back racing for the first time since the 1990s.
Despite organizer's efforts, an outcry from Ebensburg area businesses and residents claiming the track will bring back the same problems as many years ago, too much dust and noise, coupled with the Cambria County Fair Board's decision to reject racing proposals, has killed the chances of racing in Ebensburg, according to Cambria County Fair Solicitor Gary Jubas.
"We informed [supporters] that the racing prior years left a bad taste in the residents of Ebensburg," Jubas said. "Number one, the dust, and number two, the noise. They couldnt prove to us to overcome the obstacles therefore we rejected their application."
Dave Savino, one of the leaders of the efforts to bring racing back to the fairgrounds, brought their plans to the fair board at least six months ago in hopes of getting the races back on track.
"We want the people of Cambria County to know that we worked in the confines that they presented," Savino said. "[This is] very frustrating because I know what our intent was. We put a lot of hours of effort."
Savino said the group had resources, money and plans to combat noise and dirt problems, but said the group was never given a chance to show how the changes could work. An initial project price tag was about $100,000.
"We have the absolute discretion in who we want to rent to and in this case we don't want to rent to them," Jubas said.
Following the fair board's application rejection decision, supporters took to social media, mostly Facebook, blasting area businesses, the town and residents for not allowing racing to take place.
"I think it's a done deal. I dont see them overcoming the bad publicity they have generated in this town," Jubas said. "Like I said, they had obstacles to overcome to try to bring back racing and they didn't do that."
Savino said the group was willing to work with local businesses to address any concerns that would arise. Supporters maintained racing would have brought in additional customers to area businesses.
In addition to voting down racing, the fair board pointed to Ebensburg borough noise ordinances that would restrict times racing could take place.
Borough noise ordinances would not permit racing after 10 p.m. Fridays and greatly restricted racing at other times during the week.
Supporters attended a council meeting in December in an effort to get the ordinances changed, but borough council wasn't willing to make changes due to lack of community support for the racing.
Jubas said racing doesn't define Ebensburg or the fairgrounds.
"I don't see how they have any right to complain, we simply rejected their application," Jubas said.
Savino said he and other supporters are working to create other opportunities for racing in the area.