You may republish this article online or in print under our Creative Commons license. You may not edit or shorten the text, you must attribute the article to St. Croix 360 and you must include the author’s name in your republication.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
LicenseCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
Developer seeks to build high-speed driving course next to Kinnickinnic River< p>“This project has not gone through any city approvals at this point, we’ve had multiple meetings with the city, multiple meetings with the DNR, we’ve had meetings with the county, to discuss all of the sensitive issues a project like this would bring,” Krzyzaniak said.
The main driving track would run within 250 feet of the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic, a branch of the popular trout river which has been called the “jewel” of Wisconsin’s trout streams. While the main branch is said to have the highest numbers of brown trout of any river in the Midwest and is designated an “Outstanding Resource Water,” the South Fork is known for its brook trout, a native species, which also naturally sustains its population there.
“We do not affect the Kinni River, we are trying to figure out what we can do to preserve the Kinni River and do some things, such as restoring some of the banks that have been washed away,” Krzyzaniak said.
The track is also less than a mile from densely populated residential areas in River Falls, including the University of Wisconsin campus.
The project could have significant impacts , from noise to visual blight to increased traffic around the site. Because the roads would be private, no speed limits would be in effect, allowing drivers to push high-performance cars to their maximum speeds if they wish. It will next be discussed at an August 22 meeting the developer pledged to host.
Krzyzaniak’s company has already signed purchase agreements — contingent on project approvals — with two property-owners for the land, which is currently forest, wetlands, and agricultural fields. A key part of the plan is to have the city of River Falls annex the property from the neighboring town to connect to city sewer and water and other benefits.
The meeting last week, which was streamed on Zoom and uploaded to YouTube, was initially intended as a small gathering for neighboring landowners, who Krzyzaniak said he wanted to ask if they also wished to sell their property to the enterprise. But a larger crowd of neighbors and community members arrived, and asked questions for nearly an hour.
While opposition was unanimous among the speakers, their concerns ranged from the noise pollution from high-powered engines operating at high speeds, to impacts to several wetlands on the site, and the eight-foot fences and armed guards who would patrol the site to prevent theft of expensive vehicles stored there.
One attendee suggested Krzyzaniak work to build the project in his own neighborhood in Lakeville, Minnesota. Another thought it should be in the western suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, where most of the performance car enthusiasts reside.
The proposal is Krzyzaniak’s second try at opening such a site . He proposed an almost identical project in Faribault, Minnesota three years ago. Local opposition was intense, and the project ultimately failed. Krzyzaniak said the COVID-19 pandemic was to blame.
“If it had not been for COVID the project would have been built, and I would not be here tonight,” he said.
According to documents provided by opponents in Faribault, Krzyzaniak withdrew the project on Nov. 17, 2019, promising to return with a revised proposal. The COVID-19 pandemic began seriously affecting Minnesota in March 2020.
During review of the Faribault proposal, the Minnesota The Pollution Control Agency said it had “significant concerns” about noise pollution from the cars, including that the developer and the county had not yet “taken reasonable steps to address noise concerns at the proposed Project.”