Topeka City Council begins process to buy Heartland Park

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) Topeka city officials made the first steps to acquire the financially struggling Heartland Park.

Topeka city council approved the plan to buy Heartland Park 7-1 Monday night. The city is beginning the process to take over the financially struggling park.

The first step would be to expand the star district so the city can apply for the STAR bonds. STAR bonds are sales tax revenue used for commercial and entertainment tourism in the state of Kansas. The profits from Heartland Park would be used to pay off those bonds.

This plan is to get $4.7 million in star bond money to help pay for this plan. The purchase would get rid of current debt. Causing the city to break even.

“We can’t continue down the road were going we already owe the debt so we have to find a way to pay for it,” said Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast.

“It’s the right thing for the city to do, to maintain the facility. Five years ago we could have done this, we could have said were out of here. I think it’s the right thing to do for the city it’s the right thing to do for the state.

The current owner, Jayhawk Racing, will continue to operate the track until February 2015. The city will look for someone to buy the track from them. The city is not planning on operating it. The city urges that this is just the first step in what they say is a 17 step process. They will hold at least two public hearings before any bonds are issued.

Heartland Park has a quarter-mile drag strip with 23 suites, a 2.5 mile championship road course and a 3/8 mile dirt oval track.

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