Friday, April 26, 2013
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City gives nod of approval to races Mother's Day weekend

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[April 26, 2013]  While the city of Lincoln has been fortunate enough to miss the worst of the flooding caused by last week's heavy rains, some neighboring communities have not been so lucky.

Tuesday evening at the committee of the whole meeting of the Lincoln City Council, aldermen heard about the flooding in Peoria and were asked for a special favor.

Norm and Yvonne Horn of Lincoln Speedway were in attendance, bringing with them Kevin Snyder, who was there to speak on behalf of the American Motorcycle Association Holeshot Series.

Snyder told the council that the Peoria Speedway is underwater and much of it is ruined. When the water does go down, the track will have to be reconstructed; buildings and structures will have to be rebuilt. Because of this, it may be several weeks if not months before the track is back in operation.

In the meantime, the track had a big show scheduled for the weekend of Mother's Day. The AMA Holeshot Series would have been a two-day event starting on Saturday morning and ending on Sunday afternoon, Snyder said. The event would include approximately 300 to 350 entries in around 30 different heats.

Kevin Snyder said he was there to ask the city to consider allowing Lincoln Speedway to host this special event. He told the council that with the entries in the races come racers, their family, friends and fans, most of whom will stay for both days.

He said he had already been in touch with two Lincoln motels that will offer special pricing for racers, and he felt confident that the event would fill at least three motels for Saturday night. He also said there was a good chance several would come in on Friday, so there could be two-night stays involved.

Snyder said he had contacted Horn late last week and had come down to view the track. He told the council he was very impressed with the county fairgrounds as well as the track. He said he felt the AMA participants would also be impressed.

He told the council that if they allowed the event to take place, it would be good for Lincoln Speedway, but it would also be good for the city. He noted the opportunities for shopping and sightseeing that some of the racers would take advantage of while in town.

Snyder said the current schedule would be for the races to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and run to 10 p.m. They would then resume on Sunday morning around the same time, and run through the midafternoon.

When the floor was opened to discussion, Jonie Tibbs commented that this was an opportunity to be neighborly, to do something good for someone else.

"They are in a time of need," she noted. "They've come to us asking for help, and it's also a good time for us to show off our city. I think it would be a wonderful thing to come forward and help our neighbors."

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Other discussion revolved around it being the Mother's Day weekend and about the Sunday morning racing interfering with local church services.

Snyder said the group would happily respect the local churches. He said they could stop the races during church service time if there were any churches nearby that might be bothered by the noise. He also noted that motorcycles are not as loud as cars.

A quick search of the Internet by Melody Anderson resulted in finding one church in the immediate area that might be offended by the noise. She told the group that the information she found said church services started at 10:30 a.m.

Snyder said they could stop the races at 10:30 for an hour or so out of respect to that church.

As the discussions continued, Anderson offered her insight on the situation.

"We've had a number of conversations with regard to the budget and tourism," she said, "and one of the aspects of tourism that we are trying to encourage is the ‘heads in beds.' This is what we're talking about. So as far as I'm concerned, I think we need to put our vote where our mouth is."

Mayor Keith Snyder explained that the council was in an odd situation as this is a five-week month with no voting session on April 29. The next voting session will be the Monday before Mother's Day. He said this wouldn't give the AMA and Peoria Speedway enough time to get the word out about the change. He wondered if the aldermen would be willing to give an indication of how they would vote on this request, so that if it were favorable, the racers and Lincoln Speedway could move forward with what they had to do.

Anderson voiced her opinion, saying she was in favor as long as the races are not running during church services. Jeff Hoinacki echoed that, saying he would approve, providing there was not objection from the church.

Mayor Snyder then said that in looking at the head nods around the room, it appeared the council would give their consent when the question comes to a vote.

The mayor told Kevin Snyder and Horn that the question will be part of the consent agenda for the May 6 voting session.

In general, when an item is placed on the consent agenda, it is an indication that it will be approved without further discussion. However, the council can at any time remove an item from the consent agenda for the purpose of discussion and a separate vote.


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