City Approves Funding for Heartland Park Topeka Renovations

TOPEKA, Kansas -- Thanks to a commitment of funds from the City of Topeka, Heartland Park Topeka will proceed with major improvements to the facility.

The Topeka City Council voted unanimously (8-0) to approve $5 million in general obligation bonds and other money for planned improvements at a weekly meeting on Tuesday, October 12.

The facility upgrade includes repaving the entire 2.5-mile road course, updating and improving the public address system, improving existing paddock parking lighting and amenities, and construction of buildings which were originally planned but never completed.

"The unanimous vote of the Topeka City Council to approve funding for improvements and repairs is indicative of our community leaders and their understanding of the importance of Heartland Park Topeka to the local and regional economy," said Raymond Irwin, Heartland Park Topeka owner.

"This will allow us to submit a strong and appropriate bid for the biggest amateur road racing event in the country, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs."

Since taking over the management of Heartland Park Topeka in March of 2003, Irwin has taken a business from the verge of bankruptcy to a profitable race facility. The number of event days scheduled at Heartland Park this season increased almost 40-percent over the 2002 number, the final year the facility was operated under previous ownership.

Irwin has invested nearly $2 million into Heartland Park Topeka, including paying off outstanding debt from previous ownership, construction of a new office, a new electronic marquee, repaving staging lanes and walkways, separating the road course from the drag strip, and renovating suites in the corporate tower.

Work on the proposed improvements is already underway, and some projects will be in-progress during the winter months. Irwin says the 2005 work schedule will be dictated by local contractors.

"We'll hit it hard next spring, but exactly when we repave the road course is dependant on the local asphalt companies and when they can do the work," Irwin said. "We're looking at all options, but the facility will be ready to go no later than the spring of 2006."