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Raceway hearing tonight for Spencer officials to go over development agreement’s specifics

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
SPENCER ó Members of the Spencer Board of Aldermen will hold a called meeting at 6:30 tonight to discuss the draft of a development agreement with High Rock Raceway.
The meeting will be held at Town Hall.
Mayor Jody Everhart said the agreement is intended largely to protect the town from legal obligations should plans for the track come to fruition.
Track owners, for instance, will be responsible for paying for water and sewer lines to the facility, as well as any necessary property easements. Those matters are spelled out in the draft.
The agreement is for 20 years and specifies when certain aspects of the project are expected to be finished. If the agreement is eventually approved, once ground is broken, the track and surrounding townhouses are to be completed within a year.
Tonight’s meeting is intended as an opportunity to present the draft to board members. They can question portions and make changes as they see fit.
At the conclusion of tonight’s meeting, board members will set the date for a public hearing where townspeople will have the opportunity to offer feedback on the agreement. That public hearing will be held between two and three weeks from today.
Following the public hearing, aldermen will have the opportunity to do more fine-tuning of the draft, then decide whether to adopt it.
“I want it done right,” Everhart said of any agreement signed between the town and track officials.
He said Anthony Fox, an attorney with the Charlotte law firm of Parker & Poe, wrote the draft and will present it tonight. Following the meeting, a copy will be available at Town Hall for residents to peruse.
Dave Risdon, president of High Rock Raceway, referred to the draft as a “development agreement.
“We’re asking for the town to participate,” Risdon said. “We’re not asking for financial assistance.”
He said the draft was presented to town leaders earlier this week, but said feedback he’s been receiving is positive.
“Everybody’s in agreement they like the agreement,” Risdon said. “Hopefully, everyone will agree that this is what they want.”
He said the track’s first phase will cost $30 million. That phase will include the track and surrounding townhouses.
Risdon said the track’s second phase includes the development of 70 acres that flank the nearby Yadkin River. That phase will include retail stores and additional townhouses. He said plans are for the two phases to cost $205 million, though Risdon admitted those figures are very speculative.
“That’s just an estimate, but it’s reasonable,” he said.
Risdon said he felt secure about the lender for the $30 million for the project’s first phase. “It looks like a lockdown on the initial $30 million,” he said.
But Risdon said the name of the lender is not included in the draft that aldermen will be reviewing tonight, and said he’s not yet making the lender’s name public.
“I feel good about it,” he said of that lender. “But I always feel better if the money’s in the bank.”

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