Heartland Park unhappy with City of Topeka’s purchase of Hotel Topeka

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:18 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Heartland Motorsports Park of Topeka is arguing that the City of Topeka’s purchase of Hotel Topeka Wednesday, June 7 is “unfair” and a “double standard.”

Heartland Park has continued fighting Shawnee County over its property value, arguing that their appraised value is higher than he should owe. In response, owner Chris Payne has not paid property taxes since 2017, now owing $2,622,996. Payne and his attorney, David Holstead, offered to settle to pay $877,822, however the county refused. The case is currently in the Court of Appeals and is awaiting a decision.

In May, Payne said that if he loses the appeal, the park could close, costing the city event such as the NHRA Nationals and the Country Stampede.

“I’m angry, and I think the people of Shawnee County should be angry,” Holstead told 13 NEWS. “The economic benefits that flow from Heartland Park are substantial. If it closes, people would then lose another unique asset that this town has.”

Holstead calls the move of the City purchasing the hotel as a double standard, claiming that Payne paid $2.4 million when he purchased the park in 2016 and is now worth nearly $10 million, even after a potential cost of $13.5 million in repairing hail damage and the track’s asphalt. Yet, the hotel’s value dropped from over $7 million to $3 million. The property was purchased Wednesday for $7.6 million.

“I just don’t understand why Shawnee County will not consider and apply the significant amount of money that it’s going to take to keep this racetrack as a racetrack, but yet they’ve done it for Hotel Topeka,” Holstead added. “That seems to be a double standard to me and it’s not right or fair and I don’t think it’s legal.”

Holstead also says that if the property were valued correctly, Payne would pay the taxes that are owed.