City Signs On To Heartland Park Deal

In this photo provided by NHRA, Funny Car driver Johnny Gray wins the NHRA Kansas Nationals auto race, Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/NHRA, Marc Gewertz)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Topeka City Council voted 7-1 to sign onto the work agreement to purchase Heartland Park. Dist. 3 Representative Sylvia Ortiz was the lone no vote; Chad Manspeaker (Dist. 6) was not in attendance.

"It's as close to a risk free decision as you can make," said Topeka City Manager Jim Colson.

He said the deal would not cause an increase in taxes and would generate $17 million in revenue that would help it pay off the city's $10.8 million in STAR Bond debt.

The deal will require the city to issue nearly $5 million in STAR bonds to purchase the racetrack from Jayhawk Properties, LLC for $2.3 million. The rest of the money is designated to go to cost of the acquisition and the associated costs of issuance.

The plan calls for the City to "expand the its current STAR district with commercial, entertainment and tourist attractions around the track, amend the project plan, and seek approval of the Secretary of Commerce for the issuance of additional STAR bonds."

The purchase is part of a workout agreement Jayhawk, Heartland Park Raceway, LLC, reached after defaulting on several loans.

City Attorney Chad Sublet said this is just the 1st of 17 steps the city will take.

The city plans to use sales tax revenue from the expanded development to pay off bonds and will officially take over Heartland Park Topeka on February 25, 2015