CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Tenn. — Construction is expected to start on a new motorsports park in Cumberland County where people can rev their engines, ride tracks bikes and enjoy the Cumberland Plateau.
The motorsports complex was initially planned to be built in Oak Ridge, but officials decided to change locations after learning they would have to pay for an Environmental Impact Statement before construction began. It would have cost around $7 million and taken around 3-4 years to complete.
The City of Oak Ridge and the Department of Energy had previously agreed to use the land where the park was going to be built for specific purposes. Since the motorsports park did not match those purposes, the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board would have had to pay for the statement.
"When the project died in Oak Ridge, the next morning I called Rusty Bittle," said Ray Evans, the economic development director for the Plateau Park Partnership.
Bittle is a founding partner of the motorsports park, and Evans called him to discuss alternative locations to build it. He said that Cumberland County would be the best place for it since there are twice as many acres and rolling terrains that could benefit the park.
Officials also said they plan to include amenities showcasing the Cumberland Plateau such as an amphitheater, a winery, a hotel and a brewery.
The Crossville Chamber of Commerce said that the new park could bring more visitors to East Tennessee who want to experience the thrill of motorsports.
"Having a motorsports park destination with all the other amenities and activities that Flatrock USA has planned is really just going to take us to a higher level," said Evans.
Enthusiasts who are used to taking their bikes far away to find the best hills also said they are eager for a park to be built so nearby.
"We are over the moon, we really are," said Stephen Smith, a local motorsports rider. "I think in our riding community, every single person I know was talking about which track bike they are gonna buy in the next year or so once the track is ready."
Officials are expected to start construction on the motorsports park this year and said it will be completed in phases. They said the first phase could be finished as quickly as next summer.