News

Council denies request to close road for stock car tuning, testing

The Washington City Council denied permission for the closure of a road to a citizen seeking to use the area for testing stock cars.

Mike Florke, of Washington, races stock cars. He approached the council and explained before he takes his car to drag races, he needs a place to test it. He was asking for permission to close a portion of East 11th Street.

Florke said he chose this section of street because it is a dead end that leads into a cornfield and would not disrupt the flow of traffic and that he checked with neighbors and received their approval. The test and tune process would consist of driving the cars at speeds of up to 70 mph.

Council member Elaine Moore said she was concerned about safety and setting an example for others who already do this illegally.

“We have kids in this town that already are having trouble with good judgment and good decisions, and I’m just afraid that they will use this to make more bad decisions and I worry that we can’t take that chance,” she said.

The city has an ordinance in place that does not allow for drag racing of any kind. Even though Florke’s plan was only to test and tune the car, not to race, the speed limit would still prohibit the action and make it illegal.

Council decided the only feasible and legal solution was for Florke to seek private property to test the car on. Washington Mayor Jaron Rosien thanked Florke for bringing the request forward and said he hoped that by making the issue public, someone would be able to help him find a legal solution.

“You’re making the first step (by) asking the question. Even though we can’t give you a ‘yes’ answer, that doesn’t mean that it’s forever a no; who knows what might come,” he said.