Columbus 151 Speedway

The family that owns Columbus 151 Speedway is considering an appeal of a Columbia County judge’s decision that it has to sell the track to Madison Area Technical College as originally agreed.

Capital Newspapers archives

The family that owns Columbus 151 Speedway, planned to become a Madison Area Technical College emergency vehicle training facility, is considering an appeal after a Columbia County judge decided earlier this month that it had to sell the track as originally agreed.

Shirley Moore of McFarland, who owns the rural Columbus track, had agreed in May to sell the track to MATC for $583,000, but backed out of the agreement after family members and several racers objected to the sale.

MATC, also called Madison College, filed a lawsuit in June to force the sale, and on Feb. 12, Columbia County Circuit Judge Andrew Voigt agreed with MATC that Moore had to sell the track. He allowed 45 days for the sale to take place instead of 30 days, giving Moore and her family time to consider an appeal.

“If we did appeal, I expect the court would stay the sale until the Court of Appeals makes a decision,” said Moore’s lawyer, Dennis Sieg.

Without a stay, he said, the track would be sold while the appeal was pending and would be converted into the training facility before the appeals court could rule.

The Moore family was “disappointed” by the ruling, Sieg said.

“They’re not happy, of course,” Sieg said. “They’ve kind of put their whole lives into that track.”

Voigt made his ruling orally in court. According to a report in the McFarland Thistle, Voigt said there were no allegations that MATC “failed to do something it should have. All of the issues that (Moore) raises are issues that she created by her own actions or inactions. It’s unfortunate.”

MATC plans to resurface the banked oval track, turning it into a flat course and adding a mock “cityscape” where ambulance and fire truck drivers can practice navigating urban settings. A classroom facility would also be built at the site, MATC has said.

MATC spokesman Carey Heyer said that if there’s no appeal and the sale goes through as anticipated, the goal is to have the facility running by the fall of 2017. But because of the continued legal situation, it’s difficult to know when work would begin.

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Ed Treleven is the courts reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.