July 20, 2012
In two days, every piece of a century old Kansas racetrack will be sold off to make way for a future development.
This is an update to a story we brought you back in March when there was a proposal to turn Anthony Downs into a housing development with a motel and convenience store mainly for all the new out of state oil workers to stay.
"My understanding is it would have been more like a man camp and I don't think this county is really that interested in a man camp. Yes we want people to live here but do we want the man camp environment? I don't know that we want that,” Harper County Economic Development Director Mike Lanie said.
There is a new building going in now on S. Pennsylvania St. in Anthony that will be a place for oil workers to stay. And as for the Anthony Downs property, a few people who live near the track pooled their money and bought the property. One investor told us they wanted to have more control over what is built there, which is expected to be a master plan community with apartments and houses.
The new owners decided to hold an auction because they don't want to demolish the century old racetrack without giving people a chance to take home a little piece of history.
Brandon Gerber can tell you a lot of stories about Anthony Downs. He and his family moved to Anthony more than 30 years ago.
“The first thing I remember, we moved in the summer and we came to the Anthony Downs,” Gerber said.
In a few days, Gerber will have to sell off the same seats he sat on as a boy. It's not just the grandstand, everything at Anthony Downs has to go. Every last horse stall and barn door is for sale.
“If we've overlooked something and forgot to advertise it and the buyer here wants it; we'll go ahead and auction it off to you,” Gerber said.
Gerber has to help clear the way for the new property owners, so when they're ready to develop a new neighborhood, they can start with a clean slate.
“Plus now as owners in the property, there's a lot of hazards out here. The sooner we get those hazards out of here, the safer it is for kids walking to the pool or the baseball diamonds and etc,” Property Investor Jeff Jones said.
The racetrack has been a fixture in Anthony since it was built in 1904 and people who live nearby say they'll miss seeing the piece of history every day.
“Sad. I mean I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve been to the dog and horse races since I was a little kid so it's going to be sad to see it go,” Nearby neighbor Justin Francis said.
Gerber says he feels the same but says at least this way, people have the chance to take home a piece of the place where they built years of memories.
The auction is Friday at 5:00 PM. For a complete list of everything for sale and pictures of each lot,