A Christmas lights display isn’t the only addition that could be in the works for the National Corvette Museum and the adjoining NCM Motorsports Park.
On Jan. 23, the museum completed the purchase of 208.323 acres of land alongside the NCM Motorsports Park just off Exit 28 of Interstate 65. The $3,294,845 purchase gives the museum and the motorsports park a total of 430 acres, and museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said there are many possibilities for using the land.
“We feel like there are long-term opportunities to incorporate motorsports-related activities and recreational activities,” he said.
Strode said the museum had an option to purchase the land since 2010 and decided to exercise that option as the deadline to do so approached.
Strode and NCM Motorsports Park General Manager Mitch Wright said no specific plans are in the works for the property that adjoins the park’s 3.15-mile track.
“It could be a track expansion,” Strode said. “We want to have things that complement the track. We’re looking at mountain biking, a zip line and other activities. People are moving away from being spectators to being participants.”
Wright said the extra land should allow the motorsports park to continue the growth it has experienced since being built in 2013 as a venue for Corvette owners and others to drive or ride at high speeds around the winding course.
“Our audience and visitation numbers at the track continue to grow each year,” Wright said in a news release. “We added go-karts late in the season for 2017, and we’re exploring other adventure tourism offerings at the facility. Some ideas others have shared with us include a playground, rock climbing wall and bicycle trails. We want our facility to continue to grow and serve as a recreational and educational resource for our community.”
The motorsports park has added “Trek at the Track” events for bicyclists and runners Tuesdays during the warmer months and has plans to add the drive-through holiday lights starting in November.
Plans are also in the works to utilize property near the motorsports park as a business park. It is planned for a 10.591-acre tract at the entrance to the track fronting Porter Pike.
The motorsports park’s growth has continued despite a rocky start that included litigation stemming from noise at the track.
Although the park and a group called Residents Against Motorsports Track Noise reached a settlement agreement in 2016, the noise issues continue.
The agreement limited the park to on-track motorsports activities between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily and limited the noise level to 55 decibels most days but included eight “loud days” annually. According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, dishwashers reach a decibel level of 55 to 70.
The noise level is monitored by one device at 368 Clark Circle and another at the park. Residents near the park are able to file complaints with the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County.
Strode said he thinks efforts by the track to reduce noise “have been real successful,” but the planning commission continues to field complaints.
Planning commission records indicate that 15 complaints were filed between July 28, 2017, and Oct. 27, 2018. Seven of those resulted in fines totaling $4,300 being paid to the Warren County Code Enforcement Board.
One resident of the Cherry Hills neighborhood near the motorsports park said he would like to see more progress toward reducing the noise.
In an email, Jason Heflin said the noise level “is quite high during the busier months.”
“It interferes with our quality of life and is an overbearing force, even heard indoors,” said Heflin, who added that the noise level made it difficult to have a conversation outdoors.
Calling himself a “huge supporter” of the track, Heflin said: “It adds such an incredible tourism draw for the community. I hope they can overcome this.”
Efforts to overcome the noise issue continue, according to National Corvette Museum Marketing and Communications Director Katie Ellison. She points out that last year nearly 300 fast-growing evergreen trees were planted for noise abatement and that two large garages were built that should help reduce the noise.
“We are making every effort to go above and beyond in providing additional abatement at the track,” Ellison said in an email.