Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Kansas City loses bid for new NASCAR hall

Officials say publicity surrounding selection a boost

January 12, 2006

It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

That's the message officials from Unified Government of Wyandotte County are emphasizing, just days after word came down that Kansas City, Kan., had been eliminated from contention for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

"We don't consider this a setback," Unified Government spokesman Don Denney said Monday. "Clearly, we're now on the national map. We were one of only a few cities considered ... This definitely shows the success and respect our community has earned nationally."

NASCAR confirmed last week that a $110 million proposal from Kansas City, Kan., no longer was under consideration for the hall. Remaining in the race for the lucrative fall of fame are Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Daytona Beach, Fla.

Had KCK earned the hall of fame, it would have been built near the Village West entertainment and tourism district, at the intersections of Interstates 435 and 70.

The district, already home to several of the state's top tourist attractions and a neighbor to the 5-year-old Kansas Speedway, draws approximately 11 million visitors a year.

KCK Mayor Joe Reardon said, "There is nothing more (Unified Government) could have, or should have done differently" in attempting to lure the hall of fame away from the southeastern sites, where NASCAR has more traditional roots.

"Our proposal balanced the twin needs of creating a financially solid return for NASCAR and a beneficial public-private venture for the citizens of Kansas," Reardon said.

Denney, drawing on Reardon's comments, said the hall of fame's exclusion from western Wyandotte County only "enhances opportunities to acquire other destination type developments."

He also said the publicity gained from NASCAR's consideration of KCK for the hall of fame should work to solidify the area's reputation as a viable market for other major developments.

"It was priceless," Denney said.

Estimates indicated that landing the hall of fame would have provided a financial boon to Kansas City, Kan.

Those estimates include drawing between 750,000 and 1 million tourists to the area each year and generating as much as $65 million in additional revenues.

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