Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

School Land Track Proposed / Moore, Patterson Seek Lease near Airport

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

School Land Track Proposed / Moore, Patterson Seek Lease near Airport

Article excerpt

In an unusual move clouded by legal questions, the Oklahoma School Land Commission took the first step Tuesday toward the possibility of permi tting state school land to be used for a pari-mutuel race track in southwest Oklahoma City for 75 years.

A memorandum of understanding with potential promoters Robert W. Moore and J. Phillip Patterson of Oklahoma City was voted unanimously by Gov. George Nigh and the other commission members.

In the memorandum, Moore, who owns Bob Moore Cadillac Co. and a horse ranch near Newcastle, and Patterson proposed a track for a 260-acre school land site on unimproved agricultural land near Will Rogers World Airport.

The site, bounded by SW 29th St., SW 44th St., Airline Highway and Portland Ave., is now generating $3,225 a year in lease payments for the state.

A track, with a grandstand seating 10,000 and a capacity of 30,000, is being considered by Moore and Patterson, said Mike Williams, who was their spokesman.

""It sounds to me like we've got a good deal," said Gov. George Nigh. "We've got a good offer."

The memorandum says that if the legal hurdles are cleared, the commission will ""consider'' granting a 75-year easement on the land for use as a race track.

Moore and Patterson agreed in the memorandum that if the easement is granted they will pay the state:

- $5,000 a year during the development phase, expected to last a maximum of two years.

- $50,000 a year during construction, also expected to require a maximum of two years.

- $468,000 a year once the track is operational.

After the meeting, Williams said Moore and Patterson plan to build a facility that normally wold cost $60 million to $70 million, but would cost half that price.

The grandstand would be heated and air conditioned, and the facility would include private and public dining areas, he said.

The promoters hope to have the financing ready by the middle of June, Williams said.

Moore also had looked previously at the Theme Pearl and Riverfront Pearl sites of Oklahoma City's String of Pearls project. The Theme Pearl is near the intersection of Int. Hwy. 35 and Int. Hwy. 40, while the Riverfront Pearl is near S. Western Ave.

State School Superintendent John Folks raised several questions about the proposal before voting for the memorandum.

Folks asked whether the commission could grant a 75-year easement for a commercial project. He also wanted to know if such an easement had to be put out to bid. …

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