The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Municipal Report: Liberty Bell Motor Sports Park on track for 2013


By Tory Lingg , For Journal Register News Service

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rob Armbruster, project manager, Dave Kleckner, facilities planner and Marko Sana of Liberty Bell Motor Sports Park presented a blueprint of the race track’s design, associated buildings and camp site for comments at the December 19 Union Township meeting. They hope to break ground in 2013 according to Armbruster.
“We want you to know where we are at,” Armbruster said.
The layout of three tracks will cover an area of ten football fields on the south side of Route 724.
Armbruster pointed to the spectator parking areas and described the locations of each building to be associated with the sports park.
A camp ground with about 205 spaces will be located near the Schuylkill River on the north side of Route 724. Plans are under way for complex rentals for special events such as car clubs featuring BMW, Porsche or Harley Davidson motorcycles. Management would establish the rules for these events on a case by case basis. He emphasized the Motor Sports Park is not really a race track and not a drag strip. Car racing clinics, safety programs and education on different facets of racing and showing will be available. It will be a country club-type atmosphere focusing on cars and car culture.
They intend to have a pro shop which will sell promotional attire and hardware for racing cars. Camping supplies will be available. There will be concessions selling food. There will be laundry spaces and bathrooms with showers at both the campground area and the track area. The campground will be open March through October. Quiet time will be from 11 p.m. through 6 a.m. There will be access to the Thun Trail for hikers. In cooperation with French Creek State Park, more camp sites will be available there for track fans.
Out of a total of roughly 653 acres, 500 acres will be developed for the sports park. The campground area will be connected to public sewers in Birdsboro by a pipeline along the Thun Trail and along Main Street. An ambulance crew and wrecker will be on site at all events, and the complex will contract its fire protection. Over 5000 trees, shrubs and perennials will be planted to muffle sound and provide a buffer to the area. There will be two combination entrances/exits at the complex.
Chairman Don Basile said he wondered how the complex would be assessed to tax purposes for the Daniel Boone School District. It was suggested that comparisons for these purposes be made to Maple Grove Race Track.
Township Attorney Fred Hatt said there is a question whether (track owner’s) EMI will put up escrow for the improvements.
“They will compromise or put up escrow on what is deemed to be the best solution for required improvements, including wastewater management,” stated Hatt.
He added that the Department of Environmental Protection is involved with plans for wastewater management, and that if there is a breakdown in wastewater management the township wants to make sure that there is a short time sequence for the operation to shut down so that problems for the township and the environment would be minimized.
“If there is a sewage problem we don’t want Union Township to bear the burden,” Hatt said. “They want the development but they don’t want the responsibility.”
Basile said that the board wants the development but not the problems.
“(Escrow must be provided) so we don’t have to pay to get it fixed… …Before we sign anything we have to be certain everything is covered. We don’t want it coming back on the township.”
An amusement tax might be difficult to enforce and collect, said Basile.
“It would be better to discuss the issue with EMI before we establish an amusement tax. E.M.I. would be a major force in the township on weekends. We don’t want to do it until the final plans are approved,” said Basile. “They want to be a good neighbor. We have to have a firm discussion with them on some type of levy and enforcement.”
There will be a meeting with representatives from PennDOT, W.B. Homes and EMI in January about traffic control and configurations along Route 724. It will impact Birdsboro and Robeson Township, the Douglasville Bridge and the Birdsboro Bridge. On weekends it will impact Route 724 from Route 100 to Birdsboro, said Salaneck, who stressed that the board should not underestimate the importance of a traffic plan.
Steel plates will be put over the damages culvert on Williams Road. The weight limit signs will be taken down but trucks will be restricted to local deliveries only. Permits will be obtained to fix the culvert on Williams Road in 2013.
Basile said he heard fuel trucks were not able to make deliveries to local residents. The road itself has serious structural problems. Williams Road, like many other township roads, has only a cover of asphalt over dirt.
“We have to fix the culvert and prove it can carry some weight,” he stated.
“Many roads are just asphalt over dirt” said Supervisor John Salaneck in confirmation. “Years ago Paul Shirey and Mr. McMullen said to make all the roads black.”
Williams Road has had a weight limit on it since 1984.
“We have homes on that road,” said Supervisor Nelson Ott. “They have to have trash pickup and fuel deliveries… … (Township Engineer) Tom Unger went out and inspected the road so it can be used now so next summer we can fix it long term.”
Approval was granted to remove 20 feet of guardrail along Geigertown Road. Salaneck opposed removal of the guardrail for safety reasons.
Ott said he was contacted about the preservation of historic Britton Lodge along Route 724. Recently it was the location of Covato’s Restaurant, and presently there is interest in using it for a museum.
The Armorcast property near Birdsboro was actually in the Keystone Enterprise Zone, said Salaneck. Part of the property is in Union Township. The taxes have not been paid up. The last business there in 2004 was a junk yard.
A bucket truck will be rented during January for the use of trimming trees. Salaneck said that since it was decided to keep the Road Crew, employees should have adequate phones to contact each other.
After in in depth discussion about township-owned equipment in various stages of deteriorating condition, including mowers and generators, Ott said from here going forward that nothing gets thrown out until it is “reviewed by this board”.
Hatt said “there are so many variables in road definitions, it is impossible to have a blanket rule on a definition of a public road.” “Making determinations on which are actually public roads would be very costly.” “I would have to go through volumes of books from past years.” “It would take days of work.” “To do it right would cost $5000.” Salaneck then said to drop his suggestion to determine which roads should be dedicated.
Hatt said he is working to “iron out” concerns of residents whose properties abut on the realigned section of Campbellford Road near Tim’s Ugly Mug where three properties are being affected.
“Papers have to be filed,” he said.
The Robeson/Union Townships Joint Authority is trying to get funding for the wastewater management project in Geigertown. No funding is available. Ott suggested that they could get permits while they looked for funds.
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