Chris Payne is the owner of Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas. He was the guy that came in and saved what is one of the nicest racing facilities in the country from what was going to be a bad ending. Payne made some major investments in the track with respect to the road course and sprucing the place up. He has been at odds with the city of Topeka basically from the beginning regarding the taxes that he needs to pay on the place. Apparently the bill is between $30,000 and $50,000 a month and he is tired of it.
In fact, he is so tired of it that he has announced that without a suitable fix to this situation he’s going to find a new parcel, completely raze the current track, and move the place closer to Kansas City.
Heartland Park Topeka as the facility was originally named and called for decades has had a long and interesting life with regard to funding, ownership, taxes, and well everything else. The place was built with money from the government and opened to great fanfare. It remains one of the most bad ass fast places the NHRA or anyone else races on. The operator previous to Payne did the place few favors and it was in a pretty sad state by the time he left.
Payne has worked with the city before, having the property value reconnoitered a few years ago but to this point, no longterm solution has been created to remedy what Payne sees as taxes which are far too high.
The track accounts for brining 4% of the total hotel revenue of Topeka each year. That’s pretty wild for a single venue and the CEO of the tourism centric “Visit Topeka” called the potential loss of the track, “A devastating blow to Topeka.”
Let’s hope they can figured this one out.