Hibbing Racing Complex Could Boost Range Economy

By KBJR News 1

April 12, 2012 Updated Apr 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM CDT

HIBBING, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)--Iron Range leaders discussed the economic boost they believe the region would see from the construction of a $40 million Racing complex in Hibbing.

The proposed complex is expected to attract 300,000 visitors annually, making Hibbing a premiere tourist destination.

"For us, quarter horse racing is the key to this particular venue," John Fedo, an IRRC Developer said.

A casino, multi-motorsport and horse racing track would be included in the proposed 620 acre Iron Range Racing Complex, if project plans more forward.

"We are looking at approximately 650-750 slot machines, which would produce enough revenue to operate not only this facility, but generate dollars for the surrounding community," Fedo said.

The proposed project would be located off Highway 169 and the Mitchell Bridge near Hibbing.

About 450 permanent jobs and about 200 construction jobs would be created.

Supporters expect the project to generate $250,000 to both Hibbing and St. Louis County annually.

The state would also receive $18-20 million each year.

"This truly makes Hibbing and the Iron Range a destination for things other than the lakes and the tourism that we currently have,"Scott Allison, an IRRC Investor said.

But in order for the project to move forward, an amendment to the current Racino Bill must pass before the legislative session ends.

The amendment would change the racing season and give Hibbing a preference in the licensing process.

"On the House side there has actually been less movement than with it on the Senate side," Representative Carly Melin of Hibbing said. "There actually hasn't been a hearing on a racino yet this session. I don't want to get the communities hopes up that this is something that might happen. We of course, support the Hibbing project."

Supporters say with 2012 legislative approval and licensing, snowmobile racing could begin in winter of 2012.
Auto racing could begin in 2014.

Jennifer Walch
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