123 Crisp Dr, Americus, GA. 31719

Americus Motorsports Complex receives wetlands determination

Star Racing owners George and Jackie Bryce
Star Racing owners and Americus Motorsports Complex developers, George and Jackie Bryce, are shown with their official wetlands Jurisdictional Determination letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the 450-acre land survey that was submitted for this determination process.

AMERICUS, Ga. – After a six-month process, the Americus Motorsports Complex (AMC) team recently received the official letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the Jurisdictional Determination of the wetlands.

This preliminary Jurisdictional Determination (JD) process was required by the USACE due to the presence of several “wetland” areas on the future complex’s 450 acres of land located across from South Georgia Technical College.

Received in September, the official determination letter to the AMC team declares that three out of the four wetland areas on the land “may be waters of the United States within the jurisdiction of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).” The fourth wetland area is not within U.S. jurisdiction because it is defined as “isolated” since it does not connect with other waters in the local watershed.

This lengthy wetlands determination process began back in March when the Americus Motorsports Complex team hired Patrick Davies from Soil Environmental Specialist (Soil and Wetland Scientists) to delineate the wetlands on the future AMC site. Following his delineation, Langford & Associates Inc., a firm consisting of registered land surveyors, surveyed the wetland boundaries and prepared the maps required for the USACE Jurisdictional Determination.

All data and maps required for the JD were submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June, and the USACE Project Manager visited the land at the end of that month to perform the onsite wetland delineation verification. After a successful onsite session with the Army Corps, the Americus Motorsports Complex team had to wait for the official determination letter before moving forward with the site plan finalization.

The U.S. Army Corps’ official letter of JD is simply their approval of the AMC team’s layout of the wetland boundaries and acreage.

Now that the preliminary determination is finished and official letter received, the AMC team is redesigning and finalizing the overall site plan based on the new wetland area information in order to avoid possible impacts to these areas. The team has enlisted the help of civil engineering firm Harrell & Jackson Inc. to complete these revisions and to prepare the project for the bidding stage.

The construction bidding process cannot begin until the site plans are finalized with consideration for the new jurisdictional wetland information and for total project cost predictions.

As the team completes the final planning, layouts and construction estimations, they will determine if the revised design impacts any of the jurisdictional wetland areas and to what extend they will be impacted. Any non-wetland construction could move forward at that time without any further USACE approval.

On the other hand, if any parts of the updated site plan impact the 11.57 acres of jurisdictional wetlands, the team will have to go through an additional process for wetland mitigation.

For this mitigation process, the Americus Motorsports Complex team would have to submit actual construction drawings delineating the wetland impact to the Corps in order to get a permit to begin construction.

Any impact over one-tenth of an acre will require the purchase of mitigation credits from an approved Wetland Mitigation Bank. Based on previous estimations, the team would expect mitigation credits to run in the range of $25,000 per acre of impact.

An impact of less than one-half acre can be submitted under a Nationwide Permit, which is relatively simple and not very time consuming. Any larger area impacted will come under a full Section 404 permit and could take several months.

Throughout the preplanning stages, the AMC team has explored a number of attractive options for financing the future multi-million dollar facility. The most likely option for the initial funding is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program.

The purpose of the B&I Program, according to their documents, is “to improve, develop, or finance business and industry, create employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities.”

In order to be approved for a loan of this type, the company or organization must be located in a rural area and provide a percentage of the total loan amount up front prior to approval. The actual loan is negotiated between a bank lender and the borrower and is then backed by the federal B&I Program.

The Americus Motorsports Complex has already completed several steps of this lengthy process and will obtain the required initial funding for loan approval from a private investor group.

The extensive application process will be completed by both the bank lender and the Americus Motorsports Complex team before being submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their approval of the loan and guarantee.

The finalization of this complex loan approval and guarantor process will provide the needed funding to complete the entire first construction phase of the Americus Motorsports Complex. Phase One will provide a dragstrip and its accompanying facilities, which will allow the AMC to host events while they initiate the second road race course phase.

Due to delays in the approval process and necessary government requirements, the Americus Motorsports Complex team is now projecting a spring 2013 groundbreaking date. The deadlines covered in the timeline agreement between the Americus-Sumter Payroll Development Authority and the AMC team have also been extended by one year.

Click for more information about the future Americus Motorsports Complex.



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