HAVERHILL — Kimball Farm is getting a second chance.
City Council voted 8 to 1 last night to give Tyler Kimball a permit to hold a large obstacle-style mud race called Foam Fest this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at his rural East Broadway property.
The council had voted deny Kimball the same permit two weeks ago in the wake of neighborhood complaints and traffic problems at a May 31 race at the farm. Traffic was so bad at that event that police Chief Alan DeNaro said he would not support future events at the farm.
But an eleventh-hour arrangement by Kimball to bus Foam Fest participants to and from his farm from Seabrook Greyhound Track in New Hampshire was enough to win the support of the police chief and council for this weekend’s race.
Kimball promised city officials that no more than 2,000 people will be on his property at any time during the event. He said about 4,000 participants are expected, but that they will be split into two separate races, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Kimball also agreed to pay the city’s Highway Department to post “no parking” signs during events along East Broadway, Amesbury Line Road and other roadways leading to and from his property.
Councilor William Ryan was the lone holdout against the race. He said residents he has spoken to in that part of the city are united against large events at Kimball Farm. Events there in the last two years have been attended by 5,000 and 8,000 people.
“I’m not convinced these large events are appropriate for this little Rocks Village neighborhood, which is one of the most remote areas of the city,” Ryan said. “These events are too big and extravagant.”
Councilors who voted for the permit said they did so because the race had already been scheduled, but they stressed they have strong reservations about future large events planned at the farm.