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It’s ‘business as usual’ at Hawkeye Downs despite upcoming $2.6 million sale

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — As the non-profit behind the Hawkeye Down Speedway and Expo Center struggles to keep up with mounting bills, it announced a new partnership with a Cedar Rapids-based company that could offer the perfect solution.

CellSite Solutions announced just yesterday it plans to purchase the property for $2.6 million.

However, President and C.E.O, Carter Kramer says the two organizations, the Iowa Agriculture Associate and CellSite have come up with a unique leasing agreement so it’ll be ‘business as usual’.

Since 1925, Hawkeye Downs has been home to the Cedar Rapids speedway.

Iowa Agriculture Association Board member and Race Promoter, Kevin Korsmo is one of many who’ve filled the center with memories over the years.

“Personally I’ve been out here, this will be 30th year in 2020 of racing at hawkeye downs,” said Korsmo.

He knows the importance it holds to some in the community. A sentiment soon to be owner, Carter Kramer, president and CEO of CellSite Solutions, also understands.

“I mean I had been here as a kid, you know, traveled to the track, went to boat shows and gun shows with my dad,” said Kramer.

Over the nearly 95 years of operations, costs have piled up for the 93-acre center.

“Over the years it just gets harder and harder, more cumbersome to pay the bills and as a non-profit, less sponsorships, less opportunities,” said Korsmo.

While it does receive money from a hotel, motel tax. On days like today, as the property sits nearly empty, it’s not making money.

“You bet, pretty quiet out here,” said Kramer.

That’s where CellSite comes in with a solution.

“It is not a standard month to month lease. The idea is that we allow them to not have as many expenses going out during the times that the track and event center are not generating much revenue,” said Kramer.

The sale, which includes an agreement of a $200,000 investment from CellSite, means money to spend on improvements and repairs.

“It’s helping us financially, where we can reduce our debt and put some more money back into our aging facility that we need to instead of paying the bills,” said Korsmo.

Korsmo said one of the projects the board hopes to tackle is the expo center’s roof. It’s been leaking and causing difficulty for vendors.

The agreement is still being finalized, however, both parties said they are looking forward to the future of the Hawkeye Downs.

All of the events, including the upcoming racing season will continue on as scheduled.

CellSite Solutions is a telecommunication company that’s based in Cedar Rapids but has leasing locations nation-wide.

According to a press release, the move to the Hawkeye Downs is expected to also bring around 15 jobs to the growing business.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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