Fellsmere leaders vote to allow mud-bog racing at MESA Park

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

FELLSMERE – Members of the Fellsmere City Council were unanimous in their decision Thursday night to allow Treasure Coast Motorsports to proceed with plans to operate a mud-bog track at MESA Park for 90 days.

The decision came after more than an hour of comments from the company and more than a dozen speakers from the audience. The Fellsmere council chambers were crammed with more than 70 residents from all over the county – many of whom had to stand against the walls and in the aisles for lack of seating. After getting a consensus from the council, Mayor Susan Adams addressed Treasure Coast Motorsports managing partner Ike Heckler Jr., telling him that it is important to the city that the noise coming from the park be accounted for – which might include requiring racers to use new mufflers or installing noise abatement walls or berms.

She also echoed Councilwoman Sara Savage’s sentiment that the motorsports company should find a way to encourage patrons to come into Fellsmere to shop, eat and visit.

The council agreed to give Treasure Coast Motorsports a 90-day trial as the company had requested, but added that it would review how the site is operating in terms of noise management at 30 days.

“This is exactly what we’re looking for,” Treasure Coast Motorsports managing partner Ike Heckler Jr. said of the council’s decision. He added that he looks forward to proceeding with his plans to improve the city’s economic outlook.

Heckler will now proceed with getting site plan approvals, permits and other necessary paperwork before getting started on organizing his first event. That event is currently scheduled for Oct. 10 – provided all goes according to Heckler’s plan.

“It’s not all about racing,” Heckler told the council at the start of his presentation. “It’s about jobs.”

He said that by operating a mud-bog at MESA Park, he’d hire security personnel, parking attendants and ticket takers, among other employees.

The mud-bog tracks, which would also allow for ATV races and tractor pulls is the first phase for Treasure Coast Motorsports. If the mud-bogging is the success Heckler expects it to be, he wants to add two more race tracks.

Mayor Adams suggested to Heckler that he might want to consider alternative sites for his expansion plans, noting that she believes there would be issues with the addition of two more tracks at that site.

Of the 15 people who spoke before the Fellsmere City Council, only two spoke in opposition to the mud-bogging proposal based on noise concerns. Others mentioned being mindful of noise levels but, overall, supported the proposal.

Mary Wilson said that she has lived in Fellsmere for 26 years near MESA Park and had been inundated with noise when the park was active.

She took issue with more than the noise, pointing out that the jobs the park would bring would be minimum wage – something she said she does not believe the city needs.

Many more spoke in favor of bringing activities back to MESA Park, explaining that the city needs to have a place for children and teens to hang out.

“We need some entertainment,” said Dorothy Thomas, who added that her grandchildren have no place to go aside from the city parks. “We need some noise out here!”

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