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Risdon: Funding ‘not there’ for proposed High Rock Raceway

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
SPENCER ó Forced out of the High Rock Raceway development, Dave Risdon now says the money to carry out the long-discussed project is “not there.”
Risdon, the ousted former chief executive officer of High Rock Raceway, still hasn’t returned phone calls to the Salisbury Post.
But he did send a short e-mail to the Post Tuesday in which he admitted that securing financing was the biggest problem facing officials involved with the proposed raceway.
“I hope they can make a go of it, but the basic problem we have had is that the funding is not there,” Risdon said in the e-mail.
For years, at numerous public functions, Risdon insisted much the opposite, repeatedly saying financing was secured, always stating that grading at the proposed track north of Spencer was set to commence.
In early May, when members of the Spencer Board of Aldermen signed a 28-page municipal agreement involving the town and the track, Risdon said grading at the track would likely commence by the first of June.
Risdon was ousted from his affiliation with the raceway last Thursday during a vote of its board of directors. Frank McGuire, the track’s senior vice president, hasn’t had a lot to say about the departure, though he said plans are to proceed with the raceway.
“It’s frustrating,” McGuire said Monday. “But all the work has been done. We are ready to go.”
There’s plenty of suspicion throughout the community that that’s not likely to happen. At least no time soon.
Rod Whedbee owns 2.8 acres on U.S. 29 across from the site of the proposed raceway. He said he’d signed an option with track officials for them to purchase the property to build a bridge over the highway to the track.
Whedbee said the deadline for the sale passed without any money changing hands.
“I’m kind of like everybody else,” Whedbee said. “I got tired of supporting them and then nothing ever happens.”
He said he initially purchased the property almost five years ago to build a racing shop across the highway once the raceway was built. But Whedbee said he had no plans to build a shop unless the track was first constructed.
He said he was “disappointed like everybody else” that plans for the raceway have yet to materialize. “I want the racetrack to go in there more than anybody,” Whedbee said.
Then he paused before continuing, “In this economy, I know funding’s tough.”

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