Racetrack upsets Enon community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Staff Writer

The courtroom of the Pike County Courthouse was packed Monday night for the Pike County Commission’s regular meeting with people upset about events last weekend at the Pike County Mud Drags in Enon.

The Montgomery radio station Hot 105 was at the dragway this past weekend and close to 10,000 people showed up- some from as far away as Florida and Atlanta.

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"This number of people was much more than anticipated," Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said. "The traffic, parking, litter and proper sewage were major problems that were not considered when planning this event. People were charging $5 to $10 to park on land that sometimes was not even rightfully theirs."

Sheriff Thomas said that the situation escalated beyond control of the seven deputies that were trying to control the problems related to the incident. Sheriff Thomas was told of a lady that came home and tried to enter her yard, and someone tried to charge her to park on her own property.

The traffic was backed up for about a two-mile stretch on both sides of Highway 130 so that even the Post Office could not deliver to its regular customers and even some chicken feed trucks could not deliver to customers.

Some vehicles were towed because they were on private property or because they were parked beside the road on Highway 130. Wreckers from four different counties were called in to assist in towing vehicles. Also some people cussed at police officers when asked to move their vehicles.

"[The situation got so out of control that these people] could have very easily hurt someone," Sheriff Thomas said. "We want to put a stop to this before someone gets killed out there."

Proper sanitation facilities and littering were two other major problems.

"The litter was terrible," Larry Long, a resident of Enon that lives close to the mud drag track said. "I used a 35-gallon garbage can to pick it up just out of my front yard. "People were also urinating beside my house and behind my shop. A state trooper saw them doing this and he said that he could not do anything about it."

The Pike County Commission said that they have no control over the Pike County Mud Drags in Enon because they do not issue them a license and the mud drag track is also on state right of way and on private property and they have no control over either of these. They advised the people of Enon to contact their State Representatives and also a lawyer to try to help their situation. Some of the people of the Enon Community signed a petition to try to get the mud drag track removed, but the County Commission said that the petition should have been started before mud drag track was even built and that they have no control over it now.

Another event is scheduled at the Pike County Mud Drags in about two weeks. But Sheriff Thomas said, "It won’t happen in two weeks if he can help it."

In other business, the commission:

· Jane Thrash of the American Red Cross declared March American Red Cross Month.

· Approved travel April 16 and 17 of county engineer and ETI to Gulf Shores for their annual training session.

· Discussed having County Road 35 resurfaced because patching will not cure quality of road.

· Agreed to employee evaluations on five personnel from the Sheriff’s office and some also from the Solid Waste Department.

· Decided to have York Heating & Cooling service county facilities which include five buildings some of which are courthouse, extension office, health department and board of education.

· Decided to accept Acme Roofing Company’s bid of $29,000 for a low slope roof on the Pike County Extension Office.

· Decided that the voting place for Precinct II designation would be Clay Hill Community Building Church.

· Approved grant for Haynes Ambulance Service to purchase new equipment as long as attorney works out an agreement with the company for if Haynes ever leaves the community that the county may buy back the equipment at appraisal value at that time.

· Allowed Dennis Adams to vacate a portion of about 600 feet of County Road 358 where it dead-ends..

· Discussed having a business from Birmingham repair warning sirens because they charge $500 to fix sirens instead of McCord Communications, which will charge $2,320 to fix sirens. But Commission needs to see something in writing before approving the business to repair the sirens.

In closing comments, commissioner Karen Berry urged everyone to vote today for renewal of the school tax.