Chitwood Shares Track's Plans

(posted Apr 19)

For the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, customer safety is the paramount in any of its future plans.

President Joie Chitwood shared the Speedway's future growth plans with The Speedway Navigator in an exclusive April 18 telephone interview.

The IMS will continue with the expansion it started last decade to make a "first class race course."

Chitwood explained that the IMS has been "capitalizing" on the land around the IMS to provide better safety and to accommodate customers with a better parking, camping and racing atmosphere.

The vision is twofold. The objective is to create a functional world class facility for race fans in the hopes they will stimulate the area's economy with their spending. The economic growth will generate benefits to the town and merchants..

Chitwood is supportive of the Speedway Redevelopment Commission's plans because it is about recreating Speedway for the next 100 years.

He thinks the linear park is a great idea because it offers pedestrian safety by removing vehicular flow. He pointed to development of the linear park as creating a synergy effect for a revitalized Main Street, calling it a "win-win" situation. He expects race fans to patronize Main Street businesses from the linear park area.

Chitwood agreed that it is necessary to move the fencing west of the grand stands not only to promote pedestrian safety, but to provide better accessibility for emergency vehicles to reach race fans in need of emergency care. A relocated fence would give a wider space to accommodate service trucks to provide food and beverage deliveries to the suites.

Chitwood did not say if they had specific plans when it came to the residents at Georgetown Mobile Home Park, but he did state the IMS is willing to engage in dialog with adjacent property owners if they would ever want to sell their property. He understands that not all are wanting to sell.

Chitwood was not surprised that the IMS was on the acquisition list. He said that although many properties are listed, not all the parcels may be needed. He said that is not unusual to need an acquisition list for a road relocation project.

Chitwood explained the IMS does not really have alternative plans if the DPW does not grant the approval to vacate Georgetown Road. He explained the IMS is not dealing with DPW for approval but instead is working with the SRC.

Chitwood commended the SRC for its willingness to listen to the public, referring to the Charette as one example that gathered public input. He mentioned that one vision included a public ice skating park, but unfortunately it was deemed not to fit in with the plan.