Speedway decision delayed to Jan. 9
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Dec 20, 2013 | 1928 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The checkered flag has not yet fallen on the Cleveland Speedway, but the road to keeping a finish line there may be a rocky one.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chattanooga approved a motion by bankruptcy trustee Jerrold D. Farinash Thursday morning to move a hearing on the potential sale of the 22-acre site and its assets to Jan. 9.

It is a move that puts on hold the $1.1 million dollar offer from Chattanooga real estate developer Marcus D. Lyons.

Farinash and Lyons had prepared a real estate purchase agreement for the court Nov. 15, including the price and stipulations.

A judge’s approval and the trustee’s signature were all that remained for that transaction to be final.

However, Farinash said there has been more interest in purchasing the site and keeping it as a speedway.

“I had inquiries on my way to court today,” Farinash said.

The trustee said there are several variables he is taking time to further study before making a final recommendation to the court.

“Those interested in keeping the speedway have not gotten to the number yet,” he said.

He said “there are a lot of issues” surrounding any potential of the Bradley County icon remaining a racing forum.

Farinash said he understands the historical significance of the structure, but notes any attempt to maintain it would be an expensive project.

“The site was in a state of disrepair,” he said. “We have put a great deal of money into it in the hopes of making it more palatable for market. But, those funds were not unlimited and with the offer [from Lyons] we took it off the market.”

Recent public attention to the possibility the speedway could be eliminated has spurred interest.

He said if the choice was between land development and keeping an active speedway, the speedway would be the more palatable option.

“If it could maintain jobs and the South Cleveland economy, that would certainly be an option that could be viewed favorably,” Farinash said. “But that could only happen if all things were equal in the offers.”

He offered the cautionary note an offer would need to show viability to make the necessary site improvements and be able to maintain the operation.

He said his motive is to “sell it to the best offer.”

“We fully expect the speedway will sell, whether to land management or a racetrack,” Farinash said. “My main job is to maximize the return for the creditors.”