Dirt track

A midget car makes its way around a dirt track

BISBEE — Auto enthusiasts will soon have a new facility where they can watch car races and other events following the approval of a racetrack by the Cochise County Planning & Zoning Commission.

At its meeting Jan. 8, the commissioners unanimously approved a Special Use Authorization to allow Richard Wilson to build a dirt racetrack on a 42-acre parcel on N. Quiet Time Hill, east of Willcox.

The facility, to be constructed in phases, will include bleachers, a ticket booth, concessions, restrooms, storage containers and lighting. Wilson told the commission the plan is to hold events on Saturday nights, with the possibility of occasionally including Friday evenings.

Wilson, who said he has been racing cars since the age of 6, added he wants the Wilson Raceway to be accessible to all ages and affordable. He also plans to hold special events, such as tractor pulls and antique car races.

“I want it to be a good local place to keep the kids off the streets,” he said.

The approval came with several conditions, including a requirement to improve access roads and the parking lot to prevent dust, and compliance with the county’s lighting ordnance to protect the area’s dark skies.

The commission also approved an application by AT&T Mobility to erect a 199-foot tall wireless communications tower near Portal. The tower will be located on a 191-acre parcel at milepost 408 on E. Highway 80.

This is the third location chosen by AT&T after extensive consultation with local residents and businesses that expressed concerns about the first two sites. No public input was provided on the third site prior to the Commission’s meeting.

The tower will be part of the federally funded FirstNet Authority to improve first responder and rural communications, filling a current gap in wireless capabilities in the region. The application was approved in a 7-1 vote.

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