Revenue losses force change at Speedway

Princeton Union-Eagle

The Princeton Speedway could be on its last lap after a half century of operation, or it could be run next season by someone leasing the facilities.

The fair board, formally the Mille Lacs County Agricultural Society, is in charge of the speedway. The board began discussing the future of the quarter-mile, oval clay track speedway two months ago because the track has lost money five of the last 10 years – including more than $57,000 the past two seasons.

The fair board discussion led to agreeing to consider three options – continuing to run the speedway through the hiring of a manager, leasing the speedway facilities to someone to run it as their own operation, or closing the speedway.

On Oct. 9, the fair board’s speedway committee met and recommended leasing the track and seeking lease proposals.

Michele McPherson, director of the county’s land services office and a member of the speedway committee the last two years, said  the speedway was $38,126 in the red this past season. It was just over $19,646 in the red the year before that, and only made $314.33 in 2010.

A set of financial books are kept on the speedway operation, separate from the rest of the fair board’s operations, and both sets of books are audited separately.

The fair board has revenue from its annual county fair, from winter storage, leasing the fairgrounds for non fair events, and from some grant money for maintaining the grounds.

For the full story, see the Thursday, Nov. 8 print edition of the Times.