Town of Cicero Buys Sportsman's Park Equipment, Fixtures

The town of Cicero, Illinois paid $300,000 Tuesday to acquire all of the fixtures, equipment, and other property at Sportsman's Park, the dual purpose car and horse racing track.

According to published reports, about 40 potential bidders were on hand Tuesday to vie for the fixtures and other items that included more than 250 color televisions of assorted sizes, about 30 black leather tri-sectional sofas, grandstand seating, trucks, railings, fences, ceiling fans and a 20-foot-long black granite bar countertop.

Those hoping to buy a piece of Chicago racing history went away empty-handed, however, after the Cicero government bought everything. The National Jockey Club put the track and property on the market in 2002 after declines in attendance and betting at the horse track and the conversion into an auto track never revitalized the bottom line. In March, Cicero town officials approved borrowing up to $40 million to purchase the property and is expected to buy the property Thursday and then sell it to a developer. Palatine, Illinois-based developer DiMucci Cos. has announced plans to build a $150 million project that would include a convention center, soccer fields, shopping center and a 400-room hotel.

"We felt it was a liability issue," Cicero spokesman Omar Duque told the Chicago Tribune. "We were just a little leery of people coming in there, tearing things apart and hauling it out of there," Duque said. "I don't know how they would have been able to haul everything out of there."

The city of Cicero plans to resell items bought Tuesday, but the date and format for that sale have not been determined.