Hayden Town Council OKs speedway lease

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— The Hayden Town Council took little time to unanimously approve a new lease for the Hayden Speedway on Thursday.

Western Colorado Racing Association, of Craig, will operate the racetrack south of Hayden on Routt County Road 53 from today until Sept. 1. The lease agreement start date was changed from May 1 to allow Western Colorado Racing Association, which has used the track for the past three years, to start preparing the track for the first race May 21.

“We kind of dropped the ball with the other folks,” council member Tom Rogalski said about Steamboat Springs-based Rally Art Organization. “Because we didn’t get it done, (Western Colorado Racing Association is) picking it up. Anything we can do to help them, we should. I don’t see any problems.”

Association President Weston Payne thanked the Town Council. Payne said waiting to see what would happen with Rally Art put him behind schedule.

Hayden had been negotiating with Rally Art to manage, promote and improve the speedway after it was the only organization to respond to a request for proposals last year, Rogalski said. He said those negotiations stalled when former Town Manager Russ Martin left. By the time new Town Manager David Torgler came on board in January, Rogalski said it was too late for Rally Art to prepare.

Rogalski said Hayden plans to resume negotiations with Rally Art to operate the track by the end of the racing season for 2012 and future seasons. He said any agreement wouldn’t prohibit clubs such as Western Colorado Racing Association from using the track.

Because Hayden doesn’t charge rent for the speedway, it doesn’t see direct economic benefit. But Mayor Jim Haskins said leasing it was important to the town because the facility would be maintained and it attracts racing fans to Hayden, who spend money at local businesses.

Haskins said it’s the town’s goal to have the Hayden Speedway operate year-round.

Payne said he was excited to get started. He plans to start removing snow from the track this weekend in preparation for the first event.

“There will be racing in Hay­­den, and it will be fun,” he said.

Also at Thursday’s meeting:

■ The Town Council adopted the 2006 International Building Code. The town had previously used the 2003 code.

■ The Town Council heard an update about Hayden’s Economic Development Commission, which is working to brand the town and create a logo and slogan in an effort to promote businesses and attract new businesses and residents.

■ Town Council member Richard “Festus” Hagins asked that a new vote be taken to determine whether Kum & Go could move within the historic downtown district. Town Council members voted, 4-1, to not allow the move at the March 17 meeting, which Hagins said he couldn’t attend for personal reasons.

Hagins asked that a new vote be taken because he said Town Planner Tim Katers interrupted the vote and influenced the decisions. After the meeting, Haskins said he didn’t think the vote was done improperly.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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