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Trumbull County officials apply for racetrack analysis



Published: Thu, July 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The detailed study should answer several questions about the proposal.

WARREN -- Federal officials want to hear more from Trumbull County about a proposed indoor racetrack near the airport in Vienna Township.

Trumbull County Planning Commission has been invited by the Economic Development Administration to submit a full application for a $185,000 "economic adjustment grant" for a feasibility study.

The money would be used to hire a consultant -- or consultants -- for studying "the world's first indoor motor sports racetrack, including identification of needed infrastructure, a marketing study, economic impact analysis, engineering and design review, and other studies," according to the planning commission.

Trumbull County commissioners were to vote today on submitting the application. The Chicago EDA office earlier this year reviewed the pre-application submitted by the county and Western Reserve Port Authority.

The project is being called the Mahoning Valley Motorsports and Exhibition Center.

Local funding

The EDA grant will be matched dollar-for-dollar by local funds from several groups, the port authority and a state grant from the Ohio Department of Development. The full cost would be $370,000.

The $185,000 local share breakdown, said Alan Knapp, planning commission director, is:

* $40,000 from Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

* $40,000 from the port authority that runs the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, near the undisclosed site where the motor sports complex could be built.

* $65,000 from Brant Motorsports of Morgantown, W.Va., the project developer.

* $40,000 from organizations to include Trumbull 100, Western Reserve Building Trades and the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

In April, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, said the process will move forward if the study shows the racetrack is a viable project. If the study indicates the project isn't doable, the speedway will not be built, he said.

Ryan successfully got money for the study into the federal EDA reauthorization bill enacted last year. The legislation called for the 50 percent local match.

The supporters don't know where the $300 million to actually build the facility would come from, or who would own the facility. These and other questions could be answered by the study.

Bob Brant, president of Brant Motorsports, has said the track would be built to initially seat 60,000 and be expandable to seat 120,000 people. Brant wants the project to be funded from a mix of private and public entities. Brant said his company has spent more than $4 million on the indoor racetrack concept.

An initial $60,000 study, with the cost split between Mahoning and Trumbull county commissioners, conducted about 21/2 years ago determined the racetrack idea had merit.




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