All safety issues are being addressed before racers hit the ice this weekend at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.
On Tuesday, all sides came together to hammer out an agreement that would enable the Xtreme International Ice Racing competition to take place within the city.
Deputy Fire Chief Chet Harvey led city officials as they toured the arena and highlighted their concerns. He was accompanied by the racing operators and led by Arena Event Coordinator Matt Hanson.
"We want to use all due caution for all events held in the city. This one has some special considerations," Harvey said.
He did not wish to divulge specifics in the process of organizing a checklist for the arena's safety plan, but Harvey said he was able to contact his counterparts in Elmira, N.Y., to see how the recent tour stop was handled there.
An approval for the special event was granted by the City Council Public Safety Committee on Monday, although it requested the endorsement of a safety plan to be presented in the coming days. After the morning meeting, Harvey said he will send his comments to the city clerk.
"I found it productive, and they understood that a proper plan is needed," he said about the on-site arena review.
Debbie Patti, city clerk assistant, said the arena's application for its special event was received on about April 1.
She said the approval of the Public Safety Committee normally is usually the final step for approval, but its declaration of a contingency sent the process back to the relevant city departments, which in this example has been led by Harvey.
Once the safety plan is agreed to by all parties, Patti said she will issue the special event permit.
Hanson said the meeting with Harvey, a building inspector from the city and the racing league produced the needed results to roll out the event this weekend.
"We figured out all the plans. We have our safety plan in place," said Hanson.
He added the main issue was storage of fuel to power the motorcycles and four-wheeled ATVs. He said after a short discussion, a decision was made to close off sections of Second and Jefferson streets in order park the trailers and stores of ethanol. This would keep the fuel at least 50 feet from the venue as advised by Harvey, he said.
Said Hanson: "Part of the reason we were behind the ball was that we did not get this deal signed until the end of March."
He added that within a short span of weeks, the arena was forced to come up with an alternative site to park the trailers, since Arena B would be occupied. This modification to its application is what prompted the fire department to take a closer look at some of the event features, he said.
Hanson said Xtreme International Ice Racing is the only agency of its kind that is sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association, which enforces stringent rules of its own. He said the arena has a sufficient air quality system to ensure proper ventilation, and he added a crew from the fire department will be on hand to observe the performance.
Both Harvey and Hanson shared a belief that the comparative scramble to ensure safety before the gate opens Friday could facilitate similar events in the future.
"This is something that we see as an event that we bring back annually," said Hanson.
He added the response in ticket sales has shown the worth of a promotional effort that extended to Warren and other area.
For ticket and event information, visit www.jamestownarena.com.