Topeka Considers Using Sales Tax Money To Buy Heartland Park

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) -- While Topeka and Shawnee Co. leaders weigh how to ask voters to extend a half-cent sales tax, Topeka city leaders will soon decide whether they should use millions of dollars in sales tax revenue to purchase Heartland Park.

On Tuesday, the City Council will weigh issuing nearly $5 million in STAR bonds to purchase the racetrack from Jayhawk Raceing 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.

According to the Kansas Dept. of Commerce, STAR (Sales Tax Revenue) bonds allow cities in Kansas "the opportunity to issue bonds to finance the development of major commercial, entertainment and tourism areas and use the sales tax revenue generated by the development to pay off the bonds."

If approved, the City would "expand the its current STAR district, 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.

Posted by: Nick Viviani