The go-karts that have been anchored on the edge of Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park for nearly 30 years likely will zoom away next year.
Owner Troy Langley said he wants to stay and hopes to gather enough community support to sway park commissioners.
A notice was served last month that Metro Parks will not renew its lease to TNT Family Go-Karts because the business does not fit in with the park’s master plan.
In the area where TNT Family Go-Karts currently sits, park officials envision a bridge to the ferry for pedestrians and bicyclists, a trail, open space for seasonal events, a parking area, public art and a Pearl Street entrance. They also are considering a lodge or conference center and various businesses that could offer year-round food and recreation.
The master plan has been in the works for years and has been “highly vetted,” Metro Parks spokeswoman Nancy Johnson said. The community has made clear the changes they’d like to see at Point Defiance, she said.
“We just need to prepare that land for its highest and best use,” Johnson said. “It’s been evident that space is not conducive for use by go-karts.”
The business is under a two-year lease that expires at the end of 2014. Langley has been told to vacate the premises by then. The track is open daily in the summer and on weekends the rest of the year.
Langley said he hopes to get an audience with the five-member Board of Park Commissioners but has been unsuccessful so far. He said he’d like a chance to show the board how his business can continue to attract visitors and share stories customers are telling him about bringing generations of their family to drive go-karts.
Although business has slowed over the years, more than 40,000 people come each year to drive the go-karts, he said.
After learning two weeks ago that he wouldn’t be able to renew his lease, Langley printed fliers asking supporters to appeal to Metro Parks.
“At first I was really reluctant to do that, but the response we’ve gotten has really bolstered me,” Langley said. “I’m hearing the stories about they brought their son and now they’re bringing their grandchild. It’s just one cool story after another.”
“Part of me says maybe it’s time. And then I go out there and I watch these kids and they’re just so overjoyed. How many places can you take your family of all different ages where they all have a good time?”Stacia Glenn: 253-697-8653 Stacia.glenn@ thenewstribune.com