AUSTIN (KXAN) - Residents of the tiny hamlet of Elroy, Texas, are bracing for the noise and traffic that will accompany events at the new Circuit of The Americas race track.
"We started getting phone calls where people didn't have camping facilities and all the state parks are booked up," he recalled. "The Bastrop State Park, McKinney Falls, and there wasn't really any place for people to tent camp, then that's when the light started going off: Hey, let's go make a place with the facilities that people need, hot showers and flushing toilets and give the people what they're looking for close to the event."
Anderson has clearly thought things out.
"They go to f1nightly.com," he said, "and they can reserve online on their credit card and then they'll get an email confirmation.
"We'll have shuttle service, approved shuttle service where we can take people directly to the track. And it's a charter bus, so the bus waits for them.
"If they have to leave personal items on the bus, they can leave their personal items securely on the bus. And then at the end of the day, it brings everybody back to the campground."
But Anderson insists he is not a "carpetbagger" landing in Elroy to exploit the community for a quick buck.
"I've got really close ties with some people here in the community," he said, "as far as communication and making sure that what we do is benefiting them.
"And the temporary help that we need to run the facilities is going to come from some, you know, local hiring and that kind of thing."
In fact, with the Circuit of The Americas facility planning not just the F1 race, but at least three other major events, each expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors, Anderson is giving serious thought to opening permanent camp ground developments around Elroy.
That would bring customers to other local businesses and tax revenue to the local school district.
A mile and a half down Elroy Road from "downtown," Cathy Olive owns a small pygmy goat operation, raising the cute little critters to sell to the public. Some will become pets and others will be kept by their new owners for milking. Then, Olive acknowledges, a few will become dinner for the buyers.
Now, though, there is precious little pygmy goat breeding going on at the place. Olive is too busy raising hell about the CoTA race track going in just across the two-lane road in front of her house.
"I'm going to make a hay wall right here," she said, pointing to the open end of a three-sided barn, "and foam board all around here to try to sound proof this stall."
The F1 race is coming and Olive worries about what the noise produced by the high-powered cars will do to her goats' hearing.
"I was born and raised in Indianapolis," she said, "and I had friends that worked at the [Indy] 500 all their lives. I know what a racetrack sounds like and I know what kind of congestion there is around a race track."
Olive's worst fears were confirmed in October when C-TA held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new track and sent race cars, one at a time, out for a test spin.
"I sat on my front porch and it sounded like a 747 [jet] when it was going around Turn 11," she said. "Now when it was down by the start/finish line, one car was tolerable; [Turn] 22: don't know what it's going to be like. But Turn 11 is loud; it's very loud."
Olive is not alone.
"What I hear from my people is the noise and the traffic," said Brother Ronnie Dyer, pastor at First Baptist Church Elroy. "Those are the two main issues I hear from my people and how is going to affect our church?"
Dyer has headed his flock for 20 years now and he's never faced anything like this before.
"My major concern," he said, "is always, as a pastor of a church, is the spiritual side of it. What's it going to do to the community in a spiritual sense, in a moral sense? I know it will help probably financially, but what comes with that?"
But it is the immediate practical issues that have his congregants in a dither, issues like what in the dickens to do about services on Sunday?
"We talked and discussed whether we should close down that day; just not have church at all. We don't want to do that but my people come from everywhere around and will they be able to get to church? We don't know what it's going to be like, what the traffic is going to be like.
"We talked about doing home fellowships that Sunday and just have people meet in different homes in their little areas. Or we may just go ahead and have church and people who can get there can get there and the ones who can't, can't."
Back at the goat farm, Olive says she knows people who are thinking about selling out and leaving their longtime Elroy homes.
"They want to get away from the traffic and the noise," she said. "They just want out of here. They want to go back to the quiet country life."
At the convenience store, Rick Dhukka says good riddance to them.
"It's part of life," he argued. "You have to stay in this life. I mean if it gets busy, you have to handle it. Like Austin: People live over there, too. They're used to it."
The folks in Elroy, he believes, can get used to it, too.
"Oh, yeah, they're not going nowhere," Dhukka said. "They live (here) for years and years; they're not going nowhere. The people who don't like it, they can move," he said with a laugh.
Olive, who besides raising goats, also serves as president of the Elroy Neighborhood Association, heaves a long sigh.
"A few people are excited about it," she allowed. "A few people are taking a wait-and-see attitude because they want to see how bad the traffic and how bad the noise is. They're confused. But the vast majority of the neighbors out here are heartbroken.
How are my neighbors going to get to the grocery, get to church, get to work, get their kids to soccer on a two-lane road that is not going to handle the traffic?
So, what is she going to do about it?
"Keep talking to you and cameras," she said, "until something is done about the two-lane roads."
One thing Cathy Olive is not going to do, though: She is not going to move.
"I'm just too old," she groaned. "Me and the goats are probably going to die here."
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