Soap Box Derby on the Move???

By: Donald Robinson
By: Donald Robinson

The home for one of the Valley's most popular events could be changing.
Safety concerns have raised questions about the future of the Blue Ridge Soap Derby in Waynesboro.

"If we find that it's not safe to run on Main Street we would have to find another course," said Pat Steele of the Blue Ridge Soap Box Classic, "we haven't looked into that yet. Whether it's here or some place else, we just don't know."

The future of Waynesboro's Soap Box Derby is in jeopardy. Streetscape plans for the city's Main St. has raised some safety issues.

"These features here represent the bump out areas or the curb and sidewalk extension areas," said Assistant City Manager Michael Hamp.

These upgrades will make the street more narrow in some areas, leaving little room for the drivers.

"As we said all along," said Steele, "it's always been a safety concern for the kids. We want to have the safest race possible. We have a good safety record, we've never had any serious accidents and we want to keep it that way."

The new look would mean hay bales would have to be moved several feet from the curb, creating a dangerous situation.

"If a car runs into a hay bale that is to far away from the curb," said Steele, "they are just going to push it right into a curb. If they are traveling 25 to 30 miles per hour, they would probably just jump the curb and possibly injure themselves and someone else."

City officials understand the concern, but that is not stopping the work.

"The city is moving forward with the plans as they were present in the conceptual design," said Hamp.

Derby officials say no decision has been made and they are considering several options.

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