Aberdeen opens the door to sprint boat track with annexation

The Aberdeen City Council has moved toward annexing property adjacent to the Bishop Athletic Complex, allowing the process of turning the area into a sprint-boat track to move forward.

The annexation puts the city-owned property into the city’s jurisdiction, but does not address any aspects of developing the land, nor is the annexation connected to the track’s development, City Attorney Eric Nelson said.

However, two weeks ago, the council viewed a presentation by sprint-boat project supporters to explore the possibilities of bringing a venue to the area.

The oversight of the park would be spearheaded by the United AberGals, a local corporation that joined Ward 5 Councilmember Alan Richrod’s push to bring the track to the city. Council members plan to lease the property to the group, which would then organize the events.

United AberGals Treasurer Karen Rowe said the track would probably see about two races per year, but added that the venue could be used for other events.

Though the city’s annexation of the land and discussion of a sprint-boat park’s development on that land have both occurred in a week’s time, Nelson said the two aren’t related.

“The timing makes it look like the two are connected but they really aren’t,” Nelson said. “This is something we’ve talked about doing for a long time and it’s just time to get it done.”

But Nelson said the annexation would need to happen before any permitting on the track could move forward.

“Any forward progress is good forward progress,” Rowe said.

Approving the annexation requires the council to pass two more readings of the proposed ordinance. The next, on April 22, will also include a public hearing.