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County solicits proposals for Raceway takeover

MONTESANO — The Grays Harbor County commissioners approved a request for proposal document Monday afternoon to encourage those who may be interested in leasing the Grays Harbor Raceway facility to apply.

The commissioners canceled its contract in October with former promoter Great Northwest Promotions LLC, citing numerous unpaid bills owed to the county. Since that time, the county has spent weeks soliciting potential promoters to take the facility over and finished up a new lease to better protect the county’s assets.

The request for proposals states that the commissioners are seeking someone or an organization with proper experience in the management and supervision of a Raceway, who can also “demonstrate the financial resources to operate” and carries the proper liability insurance.

The commissioners list four areas for the potential promoter to specialize in their documents to the county — event management, day-to-day operations, business/financial backing and maintenance. There’s also a set of questions for each area, such as asking about the promoter’s marketing experience, anticipated fee structure, experience with racing groups and staff the promoter plans to hire along with plans for facility improvements or additions the promoter would make in the near- or long-term.

The county has set a deadline of Monday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. for the deadline for all proposals.

“Grays Harbor County reserves the right to determine which prospective lessee, in its sole judgment, best meets the county’s needs,” the request for proposal states. “The county retains the right to reject any or all proposals or to waive formalities with or without cause.”

County Commission Chairman Frank Gordon says that the county is still working with attorneys for Great Northwest Promotions LLC about who owns what at the raceway. Gordon says that numerous pieces of equipment remain missing, including a giant grader that the race track used to smooth its surface.

The only response from the promotions company has been in the form of letters and communication from its attorney to Grays Harbor Deputy Prosecutor Jim Baker. Those letters are exempt from public disclosure because of attorney-client privilege, Baker said. The county commissioners have met at least three times in closed-door executive session in recent weeks to discuss “pending litigation” specifically about the Raceway.

Because the county wants to be able to start racing in 2014, “the county is willing to discuss cooperative lease terms for the first year,” the document states.

DRAFT LEASE

A draft copy of the lease shows that the county is looking for short-term lease to start out with, ending on Oct. 15, 2016.

The contract calls for a minimum of one auto racing event consisting of either sprint or modified race classes during the annual county fair where attendees shall be admitted to the race at no charge. The contract also calls for the annual World of Outlaws event, “provided the contractor possesses the legal rights to conduct” the event; sprint car racing events, seasonal Saturday night racing events,

The contract calls for the county to be paid a monthly use fee of $2,000, along with $1 per ticket for each ticket sold at the World of Outlaws event and American Sprint Cup Series racing events. There’s also a $150 per event day cleanup fee and payment for Sheriff’s deputies services, which would includes accurate rates for mileage, wages and benefits of the deputies. The contract requires two to four uniformed deputies, depending on the event.