JDA says thanks, but no thanks for grant to study motocross

Grady County Joint Development Authority Executive Director Chadd Mathis applied for and was awarded a grant from Georgia Tech to analyze the financial impact of the motocross industry on the community, but the JDA Tuesday took no action authorizing acceptance of the grant.
Authority members had previously approved of Mathis applying for the grant with the stipulation no JDA funds would be required as part of the grant or the economic impact analysis.
Mathis said Tuesday during the monthly meeting of the JDA that a $2,000 cash match would be required for the $10,000 grant awarded to the JDA for the study.
“They want us to have skin in the game,” Mathis said.
JDA member Chuck Thomas voiced opposition to accepting the grant and noted the authority’s previous condition that no cash would be required from the authority.
“We continue to get a black eye on this,” Thomas said in reference to public opinion opposed to motocross locally and the expansion of it here.
Thomas said even if the study indicated the local motocross industry has a “huge impact” it would not change the minds of those who live near the existing tracks.
The veteran authority member said motocross came to Grady County because of a lack of zoning.
JDA member Robbie Burns asked Mathis how the study would benefit the authority and the community. According to Mathis, the study would give the authority factual data that could be used to recruit motocross associated industries and possibly manufacturers.
Grady County Commission Chairman Billy Poitevint, an ex-officio member of the authority, noted that the special land use regulations would prevent any additional motocross tracks coming to Grady County.
JDA Chairman Charles M. Stafford questioned the need for the study if expansion of motocross locally was prohibited.
Thomas said the study would not change one mind or sell one person on the idea that motocross is good for the community if they are already dead set against it.
“I see both sides and it is a heated issue without doubt, but everyone wants it as long as it’s not in their back yard,” Thomas said.

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