Racing to Build a Legacy

By Max Resnik

August 22, 2011 Updated Aug 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Shane M. Kever and a group of motorsports enthusiasts are hoping their idea to build a drag strip and motorsports park is the one that will win over the Legacy Task Force.

Kever’s plan is to build a quarter-mile drag strip that is certified by the International Hot Rod Association. Kever says the IHRA is fully supportive of the motorsports complex and believes Fort Wayne can be a hub for racing in the Midwest.

“They are supporting it with basically stating that they would like us to sort of be their Midwest presence. They feel that Fort Wayne, in particular in the Midwest, is prime for this type of event.”

The IHRA also believes that the drag strip could be a money maker for the City of Fort Wayne. They estimate, according to Kever, that the track could bring $18 million to $20 million in a single weekend. Kever says he needs just $5 million of the more than $80 million in Light Lease Fund to build the track. Kever says not only will the track generate millions for the city, it will serve as a catalyst for other economic development around the track.

“There would be between 20,000 and 30,000 people at one of these events. There would be a necessity for places to stay and for places to eat. The catalytic investment is evident in other tracks that have been built around the country.”

The IHRA is not the only supporter of this idea. More than 50 local and regional auto-related businesses and auto clubs are in support of the idea. Additionally, the idea received more than 4,600 votes in a public online poll.

According to the Legacy Task Force website, “the funds should directly benefit the people of Fort Wayne and the funds should be used for purposes which will promote the cultural, recreational, public, civic or economic well being of the community."

At a press conference this month where it was announced that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved the Light Lease agreement between the City of Fort Wayne and Indiana-Michigan Power, Mayor Tom Henry said the final round of ideas as to how spend Light Lease fund money would be announced some time in September.

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