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Wirtz To Build Plant On Sportsman’s Park Site

Horse Race Generic

(Credit: CBS)

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CICERO, Ill. (CBS) – The site of the old Sportsman’s Park racetrack in Cicero is getting new life.

The Wirtz Beverage Company, which also owns the Blackhawks, plans to build a $70 million, 600,000 square-foot distribution center that will take up half of the site.

Wirtz plans to buy 33 acres from the Town of Cicero for $6.5 million, town officials told the Chicago Sun-Times. The deal still has to be approved.

The facility will allow Wirtz to consolidate its operations in suburban Schaumburg, Wood Dale, Bensenville and Elk Grove Village, the Sun-Times reported. The Wirtz corporate headquarters will still be at 680 N. Lake Shore Dr. in the Streeterville neighborhood, the Sun-Times reported.

Sportsman’s Park was founded as a dog track by Al Capone in 1928. But it hosted horse races for most of its history.

In its later years, Sportsman’s Park was turned into a combined horse and auto racing facility, known as the Chicago Motor Speedway.

In 2002, the park hosted its last race, the National Jockey Club, which owned the park, said it would move its operations to the nearby Hawthorne Race Course. The Town of Cicero purchased Sportsman’s Park in 2003, and it was demolished in 2009.