The Crossville City Council is again grappling with how to accommodate community activities in the downtown area while balancing the needs of motorists and downtown businesses.

Andrew Ingram, owner of Hurricane Cycles in Crossville, wants to bring professional bicycle racers to the community in April with a Criterium Race while the Crossville Cruisers want more room for the cruise-ins they host April through October.

"We want to hold a bicycle race downtown," Ingram said during the Nov. 5 city council work session. "We want this race to be Division 1 status. That means it is the highest-ranking race in the Tennessee Bicycle Racing series championship."

Ingram outlined the proposed Crosstown Throwdown, a ½-mile loop race route around downtown. Participants would make as many loops as they could in one hour.

"It looks a lot like NASCAR. You take a lot of guys on bicycles. They're going very fast around a tight, sometimes very technical course, usually in a downtown footprint," Ingram said. 

The race could draw 200 or more racers and their families for the weekend. Ingram said racers have an average family income of $100,000. They travel extensively to follow their hobby, he said, with an average visit of 3.5 days.

Organizers would have to provide $5,000 in prize money. Local volunteers would also be needed to keep spectators off the closed course. The racing association provides race officials.

"This type of racing is incredibly spectator friendly," he said. "There's lots of passing, lots of action, lots of stuff going on at any given time."

Ingram wants the race to be held April 4, the Saturday following Friday at the Crossroads, to provide a multi-day experience. Downtown roads would need to be closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

But there are downtown businesses who need to maintain business access on Saturday mornings, members of the council said. 

Charles Manker with the Crossville Cruisers said the club averaged 125 cars on display this past year during the seven shows held the fourth Saturday of each month. Two of the shows were rained out, he said. There were also multiple car shows in the county in May and September.

Because participation has been strong, the club is asking the council to allow it to close Main St. from North Ave. to Lantana Rd. 

"On some of these days when we had a lot of cars, we had to ask the street department to open up some of the side streets," Manker said. 

The club asked the council to expedite their decision so they could begin planning for the 2020 show schedule.

Wood said the city police department had been stretched thin in September when the Crossville Cruise-In was held the same day as the Crossville Memorial Airport Fly-In, a city-sponsored event. 

"We are going to recommend to the council that that date not be provided," Wood said.

Manker said there is a risk in changing the date of an event from a set schedule like the fourth Saturday of each month. 

"If people show up and there is no show, they won't be back," Manker said. "They can't remember those incremental changes."

Wood also asked if the August date would conflict with the 127 Corridor Sale, which it does not. Friday at the Crossroads is typically the same Friday night as the annual yard sale. Wood said there had been some complaints about closing Main St. during that event. 

Wood said the street department is working on alternate locations that could allow the shows to continue without requiring police officers for road closures. The state highway requires posting officers for the closure.

The council will discuss Friday at the Crossroads during their work session Tuesday, set for 5 p.m. at Crossville City Hall,  392 N. Main St.

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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