Race track at 'old mill' picks up steam

The new 1.2-mile road course may go through this building as the track designed for sports cars and other vehicles winds through turns in an arena style layout.

The vision of a road-course race track in the middle of the Mitchell Industrial Park has been come clearer this past week as site owner John Wood and a regional racing organization have entered into a cooperative agreement. Racing vehicles of many varieties could be enjoying the 1.2 mile “arena style” venue sooner than originally projected.

In the three-year time frame that developers were using for the systematic conversion of the former Boise Cascade Mill “old mill” to a multi-use industrial and entertainment complex, a full-blown race track was on the 2021 calendar. With the new agreement, preliminary construction is getting underway immediately and at least a partial test of the complex could be as soon as late October of this year.

The new course construction will transform the complex into a 1.2-mile road course that may even go through one of the buildings.

It will also extend the current short drag strip that has been used several times this summer for armdrop racing to a full 1/8 mile strip. One of the mill sawdust towers has been removed to make room for that extension. An 800-foot dirt strip will also be maintained for tractor and truck pulls and dirt drags.

Gem State Raceway’s team of investors has been looking at sites throughout the Treasure Valley for a number of years, including a proposed larger road course off Hwy 16 in Ada County. GSR’s Joshua Brown says on the group’s Facebook page that his group was “initially founded as an association intended to rally those who support the track and show a need a market for a regional racing facility.”

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The initial plans, though not fulfilled, helped build the support that Brown sees coming together with the Emmett complex to make such a sports car racing facility a reality soon.

The agreement with the Motorplex at the Mill actually also fulfills a goal of the Treasure Valley Motorsports Association, which has been pursuing “a sustainable motorsports park in the greater Boise area.”

Gem State Raceway makes it clear that it is not becoming partners or owners in the property and buildings. Brown says GSR will be assisting in the construction of the new course and “partnering with them to market and generate further support.”

Wood called the new agreement evidence of the level of support the general racing community has for his envisioned complex. “Community support, inside Gem County and throughout the Treasure Valley has been tremendous,” Wood said. “The variety of groups and events that have contacted us is even beyond what I initially imagined. We will move this along as quickly as possible but within the parameters of the special use permit agreement with Gem County.”

With the new racecourse agreement moving forward, Wood added that construction of his approved RV park on another portion of the property will break ground immediately.

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