BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — Racing has been a tradition at the Bloomsburg Fair Grounds for decades, but last year the Fair Association upgraded its dirt race track and began holding competitions weeknights and weekends.
The Davis family lives just across the fence and loves the atmosphere it brings.
"We love it out here, and ever since we lived out here, it's been such an opportunity to have a race track in my backyard. We have a good location across from the grandstand, so all the neighbors seem to huddle to my house on race day," said David Davis.
But others have been speaking out about the deafening roar of the engines and clouds of dust leftover.
Dylan Klinger lives less than a block from the track.
"You definitely can hear the cars throughout the night, like 9 or 10 o'clock. Then definitely, going out, my car is all just dust on it. You can wipe your hand across it, and you can see it," Klinger said.
Residents who live farther away expressed the same concerns to the Bloomsburg Town Council.
"My car and my house is filthy the next day, my windows shake. So I want to know what the fair is going to do about that," said Deborah, Bloomsburg resident.
Others were quick to point out the potential economic value the track brings, saying the fair association is making efforts to keep the dust and the noise down.
"They purchased new clay for this year to help reduce the dust even more. This year, the cars will be required to run mufflers, which they weren't last year because of the national shortage," added Larry Hopper of Bloomsburg.
Mayor Justin Hummel says the Fair Association did not file the correct permits before completing the project.
Still, the council is pushing forward, hoping to make adjustments to the local noise ordinance, charging fines for noise at a certain decibel level depending on the time of day.
It's also drafting a new dirt ordinance.
"We're trying to work to find a way that this is livable for the people in the community and also not prohibitive from the fair board. This town spends enough money on litigation, and we're not really looking to go to court over this cuz we will lose," said Bloomsburg Mayor Justin Hummel.
For now, the races at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds are already scheduled and will take place as scheduled.
There are 12 of them this summer, beginning April 22.
As for the concerns of dust and noise, there will be workshops throughout the summer.
Those dates have not yet been determined.
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