County commissioners in Manatee County, Florida, are proposing the construction of 4,500 homes directly next door to Bradenton Motorsports Park and The Freedom Factory.
The proposed 4,500 homes are outside of the urban boundary line and would sit on what is now 2,700 acres of farmland. A fence with a maximum height of 25 feet and a noise abatement has been requested along with the development project to deflect the sound from the race cars.
“We have a classic case of how racetracks die. People move in, and they complain,” said Garrett Mitchell, also known by his persona “Cleetus McFarland,” at the Manatee County Planning Commission meeting. “We’re urban planning today; what we did 50 years ago was urban planning. We moved them [racetracks] out of town to prevent this exact issue.”
Bradenton Motorsports Park was founded in 1974 and is rich in drag racing history. The premier drag racing facility hosts some of the biggest events in the country, including the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals, U.S. Street Nationals, FL2K, and the upcoming 2023 Drag Illustrated World Series of Pro Mod.
“It’s very disheartening to have this come up after the upgrades both facilities have been undergoing the past couple of years. We’ve been working very hard to have two great facilities, not just for our national events but also for our local events,” said Victor Alvarez, Bradenton Motorsports Park Track Owner.
Mitchell recently purchased the oval track, which is now deemed The Freedom Factory. It was abandoned in 2017, but Mitchell has since restored the track that is home to many successful events.
“We bring hundreds of thousands of people to Manatee County,” explained Mitchell and how the tracks boost the economy. “I don’t think the current plan they are proposing can protect the racetracks and their historic value.”
“We’ve had a great impact on our local economy and local car scene. We plan to fight as much as we can to prevent this from happening,” said Alvarez. “We know what can happen and what this can lead to if we get 4,500 homes built next to these two facilities. We’re not going to go down without a fight.”
The planning committee voted 5-1 on the provision. The proposed plan will go to the Board of County Commissioners for a vote on December 15. If the vote is passed, it will move to the state.
“We have tons of support, and we’re going to continue to push forward. We’re going to make upgrades, work on the facilities, have our events, and attend every hearing we can,” said Alvarez.
“Hopefully, we can keep these tracks around for another 50 years. These tracks are a big part of the community, and being there first – we hope that will be considered in the decision,” continued Alvarez.
“If you dig into racing, you will see how powerful our racetracks are,” said Mitchell.
The racing community can show how powerful we are by going to the meeting on Thursday, December 15 at 9 AM at the Manatee County Administrative Center or by emailing the county commissioners to stop the development of these homes.
Copy and paste the following email addresses, your full name and address, and a message supporting Bradenton Motorsports Park and The Freedom Factory.
“I Oppose Application PA-21-09/Ordinance – Large Scale Comprehensive Plan Map and Text Amendment 23-11 PLN2111-0048” to [email protected], [email protected], kevin.vanostenbridge@my manatee.org, [email protected], [email protected], jason.bearden@mym anatee.org, [email protected]
YOU MUST INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME AND ADDRESS FOR YOUR VOTE TO COUNT.