In 1997, the average daily attendance over the course of the ten-day fair at the GBF racetrack was 5500 people. There is a current proposal for up to 60 days or more of racing at GBF from Aug-October. To give perspective, that number of people would more than fill the Tanglewood Shed. The intersection at the GBF racetrack and the road north into downtown Great Barrington would likely require reconstruction. The entrance to the GBF is adjacent to wetlands and would also likely require reconfiguration to protect the sensitive ecosystem.
The Great Barrington senior center and two senior housing projects are located on Rte. 7 south of the GBF racetrack, on the opposite side of the track from all emergency services. Ambulance time from Sheffield and parts of New Marlborough to the hospital in Great Barrington will be compromised.
Substantial increases in traffic will impact small businesses located along this portion of Route 7. Entry to and exit from these commercial establishments be will less safe and more difficult, affecting local business. A Racing Commission hearing in 1998 in Great Barrington garnered opposition from business owners on Route 7. They vocally expressed “The more successful the racetrack is the less successful some of the businesses in that area are.” These problems would spill into adjoining streets and our neighborhoods.
Pedestrian safety has already been a concern for decades in GB. Increased traffic will include large horse and equipment trucks going through downtown Great Barrington on a regular basis.