Local News

Franklin Planning Board Denies Permit Request For Racetrack

Posted June 9, 2004

— A racetrack owner vows he will keep up his fight to stay in business, despite a unanimous decision by Franklin County's Planning Board to deny his permit to do so Tuesday night.

Five County Raceway was the scene of a deadly accident at a mud sling event in August. That is why many people want it to stay closed.

Linda Gold was standing next to her sister, Candace Brown, when a modified Jeep plowed through the mud pit and into a crowd of spectators, killing Brown.

"Candace's life is worth the decision to not let him have another mud sling. Don't give him the chance to take someone else's life," Linda Gold said.

Gold showed the Franklin County planning board pictures of her sister and her sister's daughter, Rachel. Rachel's grandmother also pleaded with the board.

"Do you know how hard it is to listen to Rachel cry for her mommy at night and ask for her to hold her just one more time?" said Ardelia Brown, the victim's mother-in-law.

Hugh Williams, the track's owner spent several minutes outlining safety improvements he has planned. He told the board his business had helped generate thousands of dollars for the community.

"People ask me, 'Why do you want to do this again? Because we've helped a whole lot of people," he said.

"There was nothing ever done to Hugh, to the county, to the driver," Gold said. "So any little victory is huge for us."

Williams wants to continue mud sling races at the racetrack.

"I maintain that my permit allows us -- that the only thing we are restricted to is what days and hours were are able to operate," Williams said.

Williams promises to challenge the decision in from of county commissioners and take the issue to court, if necessary.

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