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Kankakee

Kankakee was to be the site of a rather ambitious project to build three tracks at a facilty outside of Kankakee, Illinois. By April 1997, the project was apparently dead. A copy of the initial press release from November 1996 appears under Historical Note below.

Last Updated: 1997-04-27

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Historical Note

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP, Nov 7, 1996 - 22:30 EST) -- A giant three-track auto racing complex with seating for 180,000 will be built here by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt and a private group for $150 million, state officials said late Thursday.

Kankakee Mayor Don Green called a Friday morning news conference with Illinois Secretary of State George Ryan to announce the project, which will occupy 600 acres of land east of Interstate 57, Ryan spokesman Dave Urbanek said.

Green could not be reached for comment.

The racing complex would have a 1.5-mile oval track with seating for 120,000, including 100 skyboxes, Urbanek said. Plans also call for a 1-mile oval with seating for 50,000 and a quarter-mile drag strip with a grandstand for 10,000, he said.

Foyt's group would like groundbreaking to begin within two months, so racing on the 1.5-mile track could begin next year, Urbanek said.

Ryan, a Kankakee resident, said the state is not helping to finance the complex. He offered personally to help the project get some state help, such as infrastucture improvements, for example, he said.

"I'm going there to support the mayor and tell him we'll do what we can if he needs the help," Ryan said.

Added Urbanek: "For projects like this, the city probably will go to the state to request money for infrastructure, utilities, road improvements, things like that."

Kankakee officials expect the racing complex project to provide hundreds of jobs for the area, Urbanek said.

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