Foes doubt benefits from Harford track


An automobile racetrack near Havre de Grace could bring tax revenue and jobs to Harford County, but not necessarily to the town, according to speakers at an anti-racetrack meeting there yesterday.

"Yes indeed, there are big dollars involved, but not necessarily for the city of Havre de Grace," Ronald Hendricksen told some 60 people in the local high school's auditorium. Mr. Hendricksen lives outside the city limits, near the 550-acre former farm a developer wants to turn into a racetrack.

Spectators "enjoy the race and then they go home," he said.

Developer D. Richard Rothman said his $10 million Maryland Motorsports Park would bring millions in tax revenue and "indirect" economic benefit to Harford County and the state, with stock car races, concerts and an automotive research center.

But opponents say racing events would bring noise, traffic and pollution to Havre de Grace.

Wind could carry excessive noise from cars racing around the proposed 2.5-mile track into downtown Aberdeen and Havre de Grace and just across the Susquehanna River into Perryville, according to a study Georges R. Garinther conducted for a citizen task force appointed by the mayor of Havre de Grace. Mr. Garinther is a civilian Army research engineer who specializes in the effects of noise on people.

Harry M. Korch, 48, has traveled throughout Europe to Grand Prix races and just paid $125 to attend one day of races at Dover Downs in Delaware. But the avid auto racing fan and conveyor machinist is fighting the proposed Maryland Motorsports Park. "I would love to see a racing facility built, but not in my back yard," he said.

But Wes Crigger, 35, manager of the Deli-Mart Game Room in Havre de Grace said he is willing to put up with noise or traffic in exchange for an economic boost for the town. "If you're going to grow, you've got to pay," said Mr. Crigger.

While Havre de Grace Mayor Gunther D. Hirsch and Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann said last week they would not support the racetrack, the issue is not dead. Mr. Rothman said he still plans to ask the Havre de Grace City Council to annex the land. If the council approves annexation, residents could petition the matter to a referendum.

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