Heartland Park petition approved by Shawnee County elections chief

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Backers of a petition to force the City of Topeka to put its purchase plans of the Heartland Park racing facility learned Monday they submitted enough signatures to get the measure on a future ballot.

The question, at this point, is when?

Organizers submitted about 4,500 signatures on October 8th, hoping they would surpass the 2,032 they needed in order to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Monday, Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell confirmed to Kansas First News the group managed to gather 3,587 signatures of registered voters in the city, easily qualifying

Howell says city officials were notified Monday afternoon about the results and says it’s now up to the city to determine what happens next.

“They have a couple of options,” he tells Kansas First News “it’s up to them to decide what to do next.

City officials didn’t immediately return calls as to what the next move will be, but have previously stated an election would not happen

Organizer Chris Imming, who led the petition drive, has said if the City proceeds with its plans to purchase the financially trouble race track, then issue additional Sales Tax Revenue (STAR) bonds to build up the surrounding area then voters should have a chance to give it an OK.

Currently the City of Topeka has an agreement with the owners of the park which allows for its currently financial backers to foreclose on the track if the bonds aren’t issued by February 28, 2015. If an election were scheduled for after that date, it would jeopardize the city’s agreement.


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