Topeka City Council discuss Heartland Park manager bids

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka City Council discussed at Tuesdays council meeting who will manage the track and with an appeals process now at play – what is the future of the track.

“I am only reacting to what I read in the paper this morning and all I can say is this scares me,” said Leo Hefner, concerned citizen.

Leo Hefner is referring to the list of potential bidders on the financially troubled race track that has been under scrutiny for the last several months.

The city plans to buy it – it’s trying to determine who will manage it.

Hefner says that the city promised the community they will only hire a management company that has a strong track record of running race tracks – and he says so far the city has not kept its word.

“It’s this culture of let’s call it something else and try to make people believe that what we are going ahead with is forthright,” said Hefer.

The governing body looked at the four applications to manage the park to see if they met the city’s requirements – experience and no management fees are the most important.

“We are very much focused on somebody who is going to bring a comprehensible approach to this because you can’t have a facility that is really built around one weekend,” said Jim Colson, Topeka city manager.

The city says they would like to have an owner in place by January 6th — assuming that an appeal demanding a public vote on its plan to purchase the race track is thrown out.

The city argues that if the court continues a stay on the purchase, the city will suffer immediate losses of more than 23-thousand dollars…

“If we were prevented from going forward and lost that opportunity that 46-million dollars is what the city stands to lose,” said Chad Sublet, Topeka city attorney.

The city also wants to make sure whomever they select makes the track a year-round operation which doesn’t just focus on racing.

As far as the star bonds, city manager Chad sublet says he hopes to continue the discussion of processing the star bonds by the middle of January – it all depends on the appeal.

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