Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Expoland motocross - Part 1: "Trying to meet a local need"

There has been much written about the Motocross Recreational Park that was proposed but then shot down by Expoland's Board of Directors. But what is known about the young man behind that proposal?

Terry Argenbright, 38, was born and raised in Stuarts Draft, Virginia ... a child of the Valley who has lived his entire life in the shadow the Blue Ridge Mountains. He attended school in Stuarts Draft in the southern part of Augusta County, was active in baseball and basketball, and was Most Valuable Player on the Stuarts Draft High School Golf Team in the 1980s.

Married with two children of their own, Terry and his wife Michelle are also foster parents who balance a busy lifestyle of work with family and church. Terry has served as a deacon at Blue Ridge Church in Fishersville; Michelle is Sunday School director. Terry coached soccer for three years, and the family participates in motocross racing throughout the state.

Motocross ... that is what brought Terry Argenbright onto the front pages of the local newspapers last August when he approached Expoland in Fishersville to ask about locating a motocross track at that facility -- a track that would offer quality entertainment for families and especially for the youth of the area. At a time when gangs are moving into the Valley, and when this area produces more meth than anywhere else in the country, the idea of offering recreational entertainment seemed to make sense.

After nine months and jumping through many hoops, and after receiving approval from the Augusta Board of Zoning Appeals, the Argenbrights were unexpectedly turned down by the Expoland Board of Directors with no reason given.

It all began with a first email sent in August 2007 by Terry Argenbright to Expoland inquiring about the possibility of providing a family-friendly recreational facility at that location since it was already used for the county fair, truck pulls, gun shows, and other events.

That email began a nine-month-long series of events that culminated with the Board of Zoning Appeals' approval only to be shot down five days later by Expoland.

As we follow the events that unfolded, we will see Expoland appeared to encourage Mr. Argenbright with his project which required substantial financial output for lawyers, engineers, track construction, and more ... major requests that would not normally be expected if not interested in the project. Why would Expoland's directors encourage a young businessman unless they were truly interested in providing year-round entertainment for the community?

The first email inquiry sent by Terry Argenbright to Expoland:

Sent: 8/8/2007 5:16 PM
Subject: Trying to meet a local need

I'm trying to find someone to talk with about the additional land in the back of Expo. I would like to put in a permanent motocross track with a local shop. There is always a constant struggle for our local riders to find a place to ride and practice. I am a member of the AMA and I'm always getting updates on our government trying to do away with any recreational riding especially on your own property.

My goal is to establish a business that would provide a place that could allow our riders to practice at a safe facility. I would also like to have classes for riders. The classes would teach the proper techniques on body position, how to look at the race track, teach how to handle problem situations to help minimize injury.

Racing motocross is not going to go away. It is continuing to grow larger. With that in mind, I would like to help by offering fellow riders not just a place to ride, but a place to teach safety and provide help and knowledge with bike set-up.

At every race, I see so many kids and adults that love to race but because they are not riding correctly they are an accident waiting to happen. My dream has always been to find a way to give to the community and help with our younger generations coming up.

Racing is more than just riding a bike. Even with my own children you can see their self esteem and confidence grow. Racers are always willing to help each other and reach out. I still believe that the benefits that one gets from this sport helps carry over in life as you get older and can help provide a more positive future for our younger generations.

In with helping the community I would be able to bring additional races to our area which helps with the local businesses as well as a percentage of all the proceeds would go to Expo.

If you could get this into the hands of someone who can help me with this and set up a meeting so I could discuss this in more detail, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for helping with this need and your quick response.

Terry Argenbright
And so it began....

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