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Published March 10 2010

Red River Valley Fair committee approves Schatz's lease for track

For a process that was dragged out over the last five months, the most vital part of the plan sure didn’t take very long.

In a meeting that took less than five minutes, the Red River Valley Fair executive committee unanimously approved the agreement to lease Danny Schatz use of the Red River Valley Speedway in a special meeting on Tuesday.

“Everything’s a go,” Red River Valley Fair manager Bryan Schulz said. “With any committee, you have to go through these formalities, but this means it’s going to be put into his hands.”

Nothing has been signed just yet, as Schatz is in Arizona. Committee president Bill Hoffmann said the hope is to have the contracts signed by next week before the committee meets again on March 18. The lease runs through Dec. 31, 2012, with an option that Schatz can renew for another three years.

“As soon as he gets back, everything is going to be signed and notorized, and then it will be done,” Hoffmann said. “It’s something we’re very glad could get done.”

Schatz still has some work to do. He plans on changing the track from a half-mile to a three-eighth-mile oval, as well as other improvements to the facility.

The lease states that Schatz needs the Fair’s approval for any changes made to the premises, but Hoffmann said the committee is excited about his plans.

Schatz’s commitment to make that type of investment was what made his situation unique.

“When Danny stepped forward, we knew we were very lucky,” Schulz said. “You hear horror stories about people that sign an agreement and then leave with a bunch of debt behind.

“Danny, from the start, was willing to make an investment, and he’s from the area. He’s invested in the community.”

The lease is for $20,000 per year, plus utilities. The option would make the annual payments $20,800 for the three-year term ending in 2015.

Schatz plans to run a weekly show on Wednesday nights. The lease allows 20 Wednesday shows from May 1 to Sept. 30, as well as 10 mutually agreed upon nights as special events.”

If there is a rainout on a Wednesday, Thursday make-up dates are allowed without cutting into the number of dates.

“We’re just happy to have racing out here, and there will be a tremendous change in the facility,” Hoffmann said. “We were happy to work the little things out, but we had to get the legal terms ironed out, and that takes time.

“We wish him all the luck in the world.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548