Tacoma man trying to keep his go-kart business on track
TACOMA, Wash. -- A go-kart business in Tacoma is trying to stop the city from putting the brakes on its lease as Metro Parks plans to redevelop the land where the track is located.
"We've been absolutely shunned by this (Metro Parks Board of Commissioners)," said owner Troy Langley of TNT Family Go-Karts. "We tried to have meetings with them. They're the ones calling the shots."
Langley has owned TNT Family Go-Karts at Point Defiance Park for 30 years.
"We survived the bad times with community support," said Langley. "It's a lot of fun here. Historically, it ties to the Funland area," said Langley.
Metro Parks is not renewing Langley's lease at the end of the year so Langley started a petition to save his business.
"This is Point Defiance Park. This is not a commercial zone. This should not be a commercial zone," said Langley.
The Metro Parks project is part of Destination Point Defiance. Under the plan, a visitor's center, restaurants and commercial development will replace Langley's business that sits on about two acres.
"We want to preserve the natural and historic aspect of Point Defiance Park while increasing the level of pedestrian access," said Dave Lewis, who is the Recreation Manager for Metro Parks.
Lewis said it's been an "expansive process" with the public that has included several meetings to see what visitors want at the 700-acre park.
"There will be recreational opportunities through the public process. Go-karting just has not been seen as a priority through all the public meetings that we've seen," said Lewis.
However, Langley disagrees.
"I was at most of all those meetings. There wasn't that many people at those meetings," said Langley.
Metro Parks hopes the redevelopment will enhance the public's experience and bring Point Defiance to the forefront of parks nationwide, where more than 3 million people visit annually.
As for Langley, he sees about 30,000 visitors per year and is not willing to turn-off the engines at his business just yet.
"I feel like I have a dog in this fight as long as the public supports us," said Langley.
Point Defiance Park will be redeveloped in phases. The entire project is expected to take at least 15 years to complete.