A proposal to convert Cooper Stadium, the former home of the Columbus Clippers (Class AAA; International League), to a racetrack is drawing continued opposition from neighborhood groups, who fear it will negatively impact land values.
The ballpark has been empty since the Clippers moved to downtown’s Huntington Park, but Arshot Investment Corp. has been working on a redevelopment proposal that would convert the facility to a working racetrack, complete with an automotive-research and technology center, as well as other potential development. The half-mile track would host some 20 races a year.
The issue for neighbors: noise. Arshot has worked to address those concerns by adding a 35-foot-high sound barrier to the property. While that may be enough for city officials — who are reviewing the proposal in anticipation of final approval — it’s apparently not enough for the neighbors. Developers say the city can yank their permit for business should noise limits be exceeded.
Redeveloping old ballparks is tricky: there simply aren’t many reuses for them, but a racetrack is one. (Indeed, Bush Stadium, the former home of the Indianapolis Indians. was converted to a racetrack after the Indians moved.) This proposal would keep the ballpark intact while adding 300 jobs to a pretty marginal Columbus neighborhood.
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