The city of Bowling Green’s Glen Lily landfill will be the site of a massive motorsports event this spring after commissioners Tuesday night approved a lease agreement for the event.
The commission unanimously approved a lease agreement with SK Powersports Promotions of Russellville to lease the landfill for a Grand National Cross Country off-road racing event May 16-17.
SK Powersports co-owner Sye Head said he had been working to bring a Grand National Cross Country event to southcentral Kentucky for some time, but the use of another venue fell through, leading him to approach the city about leasing the roughly 270-acre landfill tract.
He said there was a strong “need for a powersports presence in Bowling Green” and that the GNCC was the “premier off-road racing association ... in the country.”
The event is scheduled to feature dirt bike and ATV races on tracks to be built by SK Powersports. The Bowling Green stop will be the seventh on a national 13-leg tour.
He said the event would have a $3 million to $4 million economic impact for the region with an estimated 15,000 attendees or more.
Before approving the lease deal, commissioners asked numerous questions about event logistics, liability and safety.
Head said GNCC staff, in coordination with local law enforcement, would handle traffic control on the site. As for liability, Head said all spectators and participants would sign detailed waivers, and if anything did happen, “we are responsible, the city is not.”
Ron Bunch, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, also spoke Tuesday, saying the chamber and the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have been working with Head on planning the event.
“For us to have the GNCC come here is phenomenal,” Bunch said.
One potential issue with the event is that it falls on the same weekend as Western Kentucky University’s commencement.
“It’s not an ideal date,” Bunch said, but “we’re building a following ... the vision for this is to grow over time” with other powersports events.
Head said he has already started reserving blocks of hotel rooms for the event, but that many spectators will arrive and stay in RVs.
Only one person spoke regarding the lease deal. Patricia Gary, who lives on Glen Lily Road, said she was concerned about the traffic and whether the road would hold up under all the vehicle traffic.
“There will be lots of wrecks, lots of accidents,” she said.
But Head said the people who attend these kinds of events, almost always in very rural areas, are used to roads much harder to navigate then they will have to locally.
“Glen Lily Road is one of the better entry roads” for the GNCC tour, he said.
Bowling Green Police Chief Doug Hawkins said because the property is owned by the city (despite being outside the city limits) the BGPD would respond to calls at the event.
Head said racing vehicles at the event will be outfitted with noise-reducing equipment to keep noise levels down.
The lease agreement approved Tuesday calls for SK Powersports to pay the city $3,000 to use the land. Among other stipulations, the company also agrees to restore the land to its original condition and to contact all residents within 1.5 miles of the event to inform them about it and to provide free tickets.
The city opened the 30-acre landfill in the middle of the larger tract off 5301 Glen Lily Road in 1973. The landfill closed in 1981. The 30 acres that was once a landfill will not be used for anything more than spectator areas for the May event. Most of the racing trails will be in wooded areas of the site, Head said.
Head said he plans to use the May event to build a permanent “Disneyland of Powersports” in the region. “There is a demand in this area,” he said.