Knoxville — As we broke the news yesterday on Facebook, the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee approved a tax rebate, worth up to $2 million, for the Knoxville Raceway on Monday. The full House will be able to address the bill on April 14.
"It looks very positive right now," Dave Schrader, the Knoxville Raceway's lobbyist, told the Marion County Fair Association Monday night. He added that he is trying to get another bill moving in the Senate in the hopes that a combined bill can be signed sooner.
As the Journal-Express has previously reported, the Marion County Fair Board, owners of the Knoxville Raceway, are developing long-term plans for the race track and the fairgrounds overall. Plans being considered area four-story building on the southeast corner of the track where the Skate Pit currently stands, an entry plaza and skywalk to existing stands, additional skyboxes, a rooftop terrace, raceway offices and retail space are also being considered. The Skate Pit would be relocated, either inside the new building or to Dyer-Hudson Hall.
One of the first steps is getting funding into place for this. Knoxville Raceway intends to make a significant investment, around $4 million, into the project.
Schrader reports that the bill was read into the record Tuesday morning. The new bill number is HF2464. It could be addressed Friday, though the Legislature often takes Fridays off.
Legislators were shocked to learn about the international appeal Knoxville Raceway has, Schrader told the Fair Board Monday night. He informed legislators that 1,000 Australians came to Knoxville for the Nationals in 2013. It was suggested by Schrader that the Fair Board should invite legislators to a race this upcoming season.
The Legislature has already supported changes to a sales tax rebate for the NASCAR-owned Iowa Speedway. Gov. Terry Branstad signed this legislation into law last week. The Iowa Speedway bill had strong support, and Schrader believes that when Knoxville Raceway's proposal is brought to the table, approval numbers will be similar.