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this letter was written by a local racer when he heard what fees/rent that the airport and local county gov. was trying to impose on the racetrack.



"Eleven years ago when Immokalee Regional Raceway opened its doors on one of the runways at the Immokalee Airport it was hardly a get-rich-quick scheme for track operator Ralph Hester. Seeing the dangers that illegal street racing brought on, Hester saw an opportunity and took the necessary steps to lease the little used runway space and open his drag strip. The facilities were slowly improved over a course of years to include adding concrete retaining walls for safety, repaving the surface, paving additional parking and even a go-cart track for young children. The track brought jobs to the community, and entertainment to a town that needed something to do on a Saturday night. More importantly, it took illegal street racing off the street. Drivers who wanted to test out their cars were no longer looking for a stretch of open road.

It brought in money too. The economic impact of the raceway could be felt across Collier County as locals with competitive spirits bought parts for their cars at local speed shops, purchased trucks to tow their cars with at auto dealerships, spent money on fuel, tires, food, and all the other associated expenses of spending a weekend at the races. A few times per year the track plays host to racers from out of town for large sanctioned events. Those racers and devoted spectators stay in hotels, eat meals at restaurants, buy fuel at local gas stations and generally spend money in our community.

The track has played host to charitable events too with fundraisers and community awareness events. When the Collier County Sherriff's Office needed a place to conduct training and test out vehicles, the track welcomed them with open arms and free of cost. Open track days allowed anyone to come in and experience the thrill of putting their vehicle through its paces. Certainly this operation has as much of a place in our community as a zoo, a water park or a boat ramp, yet tax payers have never been asked to foot the bill -- the track always paid its own way.

In these tough economic times, airport management is looking to raise the raise the rent - demanding that the raceway commit to a three year deal at significantly higher rates than it had been paying in the past. The concern is that with track attendance, and subsequently revenue, down consistently in parallel with the economy, the track just cannot bear the extra expense. The airport is looking at this captive audience to make up for its own expense and revenue problems, and in the process, could very possibly kill the Golden Goose it is attempting to harvest.

If you took the drive to Immokalee and enjoyed a night at the strip with family and friends, or if you work at one of those businesses that benefits from racers doing business in the community, or even if you just appreciate the idea of having a safe place for kids of all ages to spend an evening, now is the time to take action. Take a minute and follow the link below to tell your County Commissioner that the track is important. A few minutes of your time could make a very big impact for the community.

http://www.colliergov.net/Index.aspx?page=30"

Philip E. Osborne
Vice President
Naples Boat Mart
829 Airport Road N.
Naples, FL 34104

www.immraceway.com
 

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Discussion Starter #2

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Thomas just sent an email to all on your list. I love going there Attention all racers please take a few minutes and send an email for 1 of the best track onwers in FL Ralph we cant let him down
 

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EMAIL SENT TO ALL. I HAVE NEVER BEEN THERE BUT I SUPPORT OUR GREAT SPORT AND WILL DO ANYTHING TO KEEP A TRACK OPEN
 

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If it's really the county that is leaning on them, then you might want to gather some operational costs for presentation to the commissioners and get on their agenda. Put the word in the streets and get as many people at a commish meeting as possible. Just a hip shot knowing something about insurance costs required for a sanctioned track, with the asked-for rent and 4 T&T dates you're looking at $1000+ per weekend before the gates open, not counting salaries, power, water, etc.

If it's the FAA behind it - well, that's a bad deal. Phrases will be said such as "Inconsistent with airport operations" and "may result is the reduction or elimination of federal funds". If the FAA wants racing off the airport, I can just about guarantee they will get their wish.
 

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OK, I hate to even talk about this but "been there, had this shoved up our ass". Reference "Abilene Shootout Drag Race" a charitable SINGLE YEARLY event that raised well over $250,000 for local entities in 9 years of operation. In 2001, the new airport operations manager and the city were basically told to choose between federal support funds and racing at the airport. That was the permanent end of racing at the airport.

Where in the hell have I heard this before? Oh yea... :

Quote: "Chris Curry, the new executive director of the Collier County Airport Authority, who recently recommended new rates, said he was contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration about the auto drag racing strip at the airport, which had not been approved by the FAA. Moreover, nonaeronautical tenants are required by the FAA to pay fair market value, Curry said."

http://www.airportbusiness.com/web/online/Top-News-Headlines/Higher-rent-may-force-Immokalee-Regional-Raceway-to-shut-down/1$42627

I PERSONALLY argued with the FAA over this, in several conversations. They were unmoved by any compromise or suggestion - racing is not consistent with aircraft operational and they don't support it. If the above quote is accurate, drag racing at Immokalee is DEAD MEAT. My condolences, you guys are done like chicken. Again, if the above quote is correct the rent issue is inconsequential - FAA wants you out. It's a regional airport, they get fed funds - the commissioners will not chose the drag strip. The drag strip will not bring in the kind of money the feds may spend. Yes, it's all about the money.
 

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I see this is old news?
"
Great news eveeryone!! The FAA has approved the track and an agreement has been worked out with the airport autority on the lease! So Immokalee Regional Raceway will keep going, just like it has the past 11 years.
Thank you for all your, and, continued support.


February 27 at 5:27pm"

I would not have bet $.05 on this outcome.
 
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