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Another season in the red for RRVS

The final financial numbers are out for the Red River Valley Speedway and the results aren't much of a shock: the speedway has suffered another losing season.

Financial packets were available Oct. 15 during a board meeting for the Red River Valley Fairground. Though, as a whole, RRVF raked in more than $3.5 million, the speedway wound up costing the association "between $40,000 and $50,000," RRVF general manager Bryan Schulz said.

The financial packets actually show a net loss of only $3,752 for the racetrack, but Schulz said that number is deceiving.

"There probably are about $50,000 in staff salaries that haven't been added," he said. That amount won't be added because staff salaries are shown in an offseason account, not in the speedway budget, Schulz said. "We really can't sit here and lose $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000 a year on one entity when we have anywhere from $1 million to $1.5 million in infrastructure needs that must be met," Schulz said.

Luckily for RRFV, the speedway soon may no longer be its burden to bear. Local race enthusiast Danny Schatz, who recently proposed a three-year, $20,000 a year leasing plan for RRVS, is getting some final details worked out for the track. According to RRVF Association president David Strand, Schatz has hired an engineering firm to estimate construction planned for the track. Schatz hopes to shorten the track, which would require moving lights and reworking the drainage system.

Strand said Schatz hopes to have a more formal proposal ready "within the next couple of weeks."

Another dark cloud that hangs over RRFV is a $1.1 million debt incurred five years ago for updates and construction. A recent land sale, however, will meet nearly 65 percent of that debt.

Roughly 620 acres of land in Alice, N.D., most of which was owned by RRVF, recently went to auction, selling for more than $900,000. Of that, the Association should net about $700,000. The rest will go to other groups who owned some of the land.

The land originally was deeded to the RRVF years ago by Francis and Adeline Hartl. According to Schulz, the couple gave the land to the Association in exchange for a new fairground structure bearing their name: the Hartl Ag Building. Francis' brother, Harold, also owned land around Alice, the likes of which he donated to various educational associations and charities. All land was sold at the recent auction.