KC may buy drag strip for new park - KansasCity.com
As Said by the track owner
As Said by the track owner
What do you guys think?Let me start out by saying that the "sale" of the track is not a decision that the owners want to make. They are not sell-outs, nor are they willingly abandoning the racing community. They are as deeply tied to racing, if not more, than anyone here.
In a nutshell, this was a political move. It may be one person, it may be a combination of people, but there are only 3 major players who have the kind of clout around KC to force the sale of the track.
1. Claire McCaskill. She owns approximately 27 acres (I believe) in the immediate vicinity of the track. My understanding is that she has been unable to market or sell her property for a significant profit because of the proximity of her property to the race track. That might make a good motive to lean on the city to force the track out of operation. And you can't forget councilwoman Circo...who also happens to be a fundraiser for Claire McCaskill. Interesting how that works out, isn't it?
2. Christine Kemper. She owns one of the houses on the hill on the other side of Noland Road, across from the track. The bulk of the track's problems started immediately upon her taking possession of that home. Many of you will recall the huge debacle involving the storage shed that Kemper and Porrevecchio tried to use as leverage to shut down the track. Huge hearing before the BZA. City Hall was packed. While she was successful in costing the track a lot of money in unnecessary "improvements" and attorneys' fees and ultimately restricting the days and hours of the track's operation, she could not shut the track down. But don't for a second think she has let it go.
3. Ms. Ulmer who owns all of the property up on the hill, east of the track. After her husband passed away, she has been trying to develop that property by herself. Rumor has it that nobody is thrilled about assisting in the development of that property because it's right above the track.
Now which one(s) of these people are behind the political pressure to force the sale of the track is anyone's guess. But there is a jerk in the woodpile somewhere.
Next, while what the city may try to claim is that this is a voluntary sale, nothing could be further from the truth. The city had been trying to buy the track for a while, but could never come up with any money. So the track entered into negotiations with another buyer (who would actually keep the track there, but would result in an infusion of cash for the track). After finding out that the current owners had found a buyer that would keep the track where it is, the city sent a letter threatening the condemnation of the land. Guess what that did to the sale of the property.
While under threat of condemnation, the property is dead. You can't sell it. You can't rezone it. And it makes no sense to spend any more money on it, because it may be taken from you at any time. So that's the first dirty trick the city pulled. Just the threat of condemnation crushed any chance the track had of selling to someone who could improve the place and devalued the purchase price to any other interested buyer.
Then the city, through its codes administration, began really putting the pressure on the owners to "fix" certain alleged violations at the track. "You can't have any electricity in your new outbuilding." Ok. Then it was, "You MUST run electricity to the new outbuilding." Ok. Then it was, "You have to repave the parking lot near the outbuilding". Why? That wasn't on the approved plans? "DO IT!" Then it was, "you need illuminated exit signs in the building." Why? Those weren't on the approved plans and this is a storage shed. It's not a public building as defined by the codes. "Do it or we'll fine you, etc, etc,"
So the city started making it clear that if the owners didn't sell, at a low ball price which the city could afford, they'd just come out there every single day and find something to ticket them for. Take away their vending permit. Something. The city very clearly sent the message, 'If you don't give us this land, we'll make your life a living hell. And if you make us go through the condemnation process, we'll make sure you are offered pennies on the dollar for the property and that after you've paid your lawyers, you'll walk away with next to nothing."
Welcome to Kansas City politics. And you thought it was bad during the Cleaver days?
And so far, the city has failed and refused to provide any assistance in finding another location for the racetrack. The owners even agreed to take less money in exchange for help finding a replacement property and some time to operate while they built the new facility. The city was NOT willing to give them another season, or even another day. The city is not paying what the property is worth, but it's paying more for the property just to shut it down NOW and to not have to find a new place. If that gives you any idea of the real motivations behind this move.
So you, the tax payers, while still getting a deal on the property, could have had it even cheaper if the city would have given the owners more time and helped them find a new place. But the city would rather pay more to run a business out of town immediately. Feel free to be pissed aS fuark about that, too.
So the city will have a completely worthless, non-income generating nuisance that it will have to take care of in place of a money earning, property tax paying business.
But hey, at least some of the more powerful women in the city will be able to line their pockets with cash after it's gone. And when it comes down to it, isn't being a politician really about using your power for your own profit?
Those are about all of the details I can provide at this time. I'm waiting for the press release to be issued by the city, to see how they "spin" this thing, but what I just told you is pretty dang accurate (other than my speculation about who is behind the string pulling). The city is RUNNING THE TRACK OUT OF TOWN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
The track has been blackmailed, bullied and beaten into selling. HOWEVER, you can still lean on your elected officials to either (a) undo the deal and refuse to fund the purchase; or (B) at a minimum, assist the owners in finding a new location for the track.
Those are the facts as I believe them to be.