Owner says high taxes could drive Heartland Motorsports Park out of town

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The owner of Heartland Motorsports Park says high Shawnee County taxes could force him out of Topeka.

Track owner Chris Payne told 13 NEWS if worst comes to worst he'll raze the entire facility and move it to Kansas City.

Topeka City Manager Brent Trout hasn't spoken to Heartland Park owner Chris Payne since October - he says he knew Payne had concerns - but thought they were working through them.

"I would be disappointed to see it leave. I really would like to see we, us be able to work out something to continue to be able to continue operation of the track ... So from my standpoint that was my understanding was that we had a good agreement, that they had made that good agreement."

But Payne says nothing has changed - he told 13 NEWS he's paying almost $1,000 a day in Shawnee County taxes for a facility that's only open six to seven months of the year.

Payne says the park is finally successful and growing - but still can't generate enough to pay fees that steep.

Trout says the area needs the money the track's events generate.

"There's money that's generated by the sales tax that's paid when concessions and other things are sold," he said.

"And that money is utilized in order to pay off the star bonds and so for us, keeping it a viable business and keeping it in operation provides revenue source to help pay off those bonds."

Which is why Trout emphasized the importance of reaching an agreement.

"We would definitely feel the impact of that, and we don't want to see that ...it's something that, you know why would you wanna not have something like that, a racetrack in your backyard."

Payne emphasized that he doesn't want to leave if he doesn't have to - he wants people to stand up - and show support for the Heartland Motorsports Park.