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TRUMBULL CO. Taxpayers would partly fund racetrack



Published: Fri, August 23, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The county could make back its money in five to 10 years, an official says.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Taxpayers will likely be asked to shoulder 25 percent of the cost of building an indoor auto racetrack in Trumbull County if the project gets the green flag.

The public contribution would likely total $75 million, said Gary Newbrough, director of the county planning commission.

"Our 25 percent will be mostly infrastructure improvements, sewers, land acquisition, widening the roads." Grants may be available for some infrastructure improvements, he said Thursday.

Recouping money

Initial studies suggest the county could make back money poured into developing the racetrack, proposed by Brant Motorsports of Morgantown, W.Va., in five to 10 years from increased sales and property tax, he said.

One way the county would likely contribute is by building two sewer lines to a proposed site, near Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

The exact location is being kept secret so as not to drive up land prices, Newbrough said.

A sewer line would likely be extended north from Kline's Farm at Belmont Avenue and Tibbitts-Wick Road, to the airport area north of Vienna on state Route 193. An interceptor line to speed effluent from north of the airport to state Route 46 is also being considered, Newbrough said.

Plans to build both lines to foster development near the airport predate the notion to build an indoor racetrack. The sewer lines would be eligible for funding from the state Community Development Block Grant program because they would help create jobs, he said.

The results of a $60,000 study on the project financed by Trumbull and Mahoning counties has not been made public, but initial results have been presented to small groups of public officials.

Revenues

Estimates are that expenditures by race fans on tickets and concessions at the track could reach $250 million a year, Newbrough said.

That number does not include increased restaurant use, hotel room tabs or additional spin-off development, he said.

Before proceeding on the 40-acre track, being called the first of its kind in the world, officials want to make sure Brant Motorsports can stand up to its $225 million end of the $300 million deal.

"It all depends on the evaluation of Brant Motorsports," Newbrough said. "We are not completely sure of their financial standing."

siff@vindy.com




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