Tempers flare at meeting about possible Pine Bluff mud track

PINE BLUFF (KATV) - Dozens of residents showed up Thursday night in what was expected to be a quiet and small gathering. But with a packed house and the room almost evenly divided on this issue it was anything but that.

It all happened at a public hearing at White Hall Library where people voiced strong opinions regarding the proposal.

It was a public hearing filled with more tension that many expected all over a mud track that may be built on Huntley Trail in Pine Bluff. The concerns varied.

"I can assure you you will hear the noise, I can assure you there will be a difference in the air pollution," said one woman who's lived near Huntley Trail for nearly sixty years.

"Just think that when you all put that out there it just might be once a month or whenever it is but it's going to be a dangerous day," said another local resident.

But opinions in favor of the race track were just as strong. Many said they were only asking for several days a year.

"The only time we're going to race is from April to October," said one man in favor of the track. "One day a month."

But those against that track said it's the way the developer has gone about it all.

"Mr. Huntley admits, as he did here tonight, that he knows it's not right but that he can do it so he's going to do it," said George Petray, president of a local hunting club.

One of the major concerns for hunters was scaring off deer. Jack Bumpass, also a local resident, says he doesn't buy it.

"Don't blame us because you can't kill a turkey or you can't kill a chicken," said Bumpass.

Bumpass said it's a good activity for families who live in the area.

"It's just a good family day, they love it, I mean it beats the kids out on the street," he said. "It seems like the younger the kids the more they like it and it's just good fun."

George Huntley, the man behind the race track, says he didn't expect such strong opposition but it's not going to stop him.

"We just have to deal without however we have to deal with it, you know, because we went too far to just give up and go on," he said.

State officials will listen to public input for the next week and a final decision will be made two weeks after.