Jul. 28—The city of Kokomo has received a $1.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration for infrastructure upgrades to address flooding in the area adjacent to the historic Kokomo Speedway.
The grant, funded by American Rescue Plan money and part of the EDA's $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan (ARP) Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program., will go toward a project aimed at mitigating flooding issues that have disrupted events at the Kokomo Speedway for years. The EDA investment will be matched with approximately $383,300 in local funds and is expected to create 50 jobs, retain 113 jobs and generate $2.85 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
The project will construct and install an urban drainage system and sanitary sewer service along Davis Road north of Morgan Street. Work should begin in 2023.
Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore said the benefits of the grant will be felt well beyond the Kokomo Speedway.
"The immediate impact of this grant will be the major benefits these infrastructure improvements will provide along North Davis Road," Moore said in a release. "This project will not only boost local tourism but stands to create additional investment and jobs and become a driver in economic development in the area."
Flooding issues at the Speedway result in several cancellations every year. Unfortunately, those lost opportunities, plus the recent pandemic-related event cancellations, devastated the local economy that relies on Speedway events as a major source of revenue.
Reece O'Connor, one of the Kokomo Speedway owners, said resolving the ongoing flooding issues will be essential to the racetrack's future success.
"These improvements will make a huge difference for our facility and our workers," O'Connor said in a statement. "When we have to postpone or cancel an event, it impacts not just our business but the surrounding community businesses that benefit from the fans that travel to Kokomo for racing."