Sears Point to maintain traditional road course

WHAT: Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission Meeting. WHEN: Wednesday, August 23, 6:30 p.m. AGENDA: Steve Page, president and general manager of Sears Point Raceway, will unveil final plans and construction phasing for the raceway's $35...

WHAT: Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission Meeting.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 23, 6:30 p.m.

AGENDA:
Steve Page, president and general manager of Sears Point Raceway, will unveil final plans and construction phasing for the raceway's $35 million Modernization Plan, which was approved by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors by a unanimous 5-0 vote in April. The plans as they are now constituted eliminate or reduce several project features, which had proven controversial during the environmental review process. The Modernization Plan will transform Sears Point into the premier road-racing venue and motorsports industrial park in the country.

CHANGES:
Elimination of the proposed east-side grandstands at start/finish line (10,000 seats). This will leave the west-side grandstand (15,000) as the only permanent seating structure at start/finish line and drag strip. Final permanent grandstand seating at the raceway will now be limited to 25,000 total seats.

The upper end (north) of the paddock area will not expand to the degree initially proposed. It will expand by approximately 70-percent. The original plan called for an increase of 200-percent over its current size. This will eliminate approximately 250,000 yards of grading.

Elimination of a Maintenance Center that was proposed to be built above Turn 7. The Maintenance Center will remain behind Turn 11, where it currently stands.

REASON FOR CHANGES:
These changes to the final plan will allow the raceway to maintain the traditional road course configuration. By eliminating the east-side grandstands and keeping the Maintenance Center at its present location, the layout of the track from Turn 7 through Turn 11, which includes the storied esses, will remain the same. Raceway officials have also noted the overwhelmingly positive response to their hillside terrace seating concept which has allowed them to shift further from permanent grandstand seating structures. Removal of the east-side grandstand from the final plan also eliminates what had been the most controversial element of the raceway's plans from the standpoint of off-site visual impact.


"These changes will preserve the legendary tradition of the Sears Point road course, which is one of the most the technical and challenging circuits in the world. As a bonus, we are able to further reduce concerns over visual impacts without compromising the underlying business objectives of our modernization." - Steve Page.

TIMETABLE
The Modernization Plan will be done in two phases and take two years for full completion. Phase 1 focuses on infrastructure, traffic access and circulation and environmental mitigation. Some of the Phase 1 plans include: construction of 34,000 hillside terrace seats alongside Turns 2-4; new wastewater treatment system; building of partial garages (32) for competitors; service road/entrance for fans at Gate 7 alongside Highway 121; and construction of south tenant shops (146,000 square feet). Work on Phase 1 will begin as soon as permits are obtained, which could be as soon as the first week of September.

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Series Automotive , General