CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County has announced plans to shift gears in the effort to redevelop the historic Southside Speedway property.

Nicknamed the “Toughest Short Track in the South,” Southside Speedway operated for more than six decades before its closure back in 2020. That closure was initially labeled “permanent,” but over time, more than 10,000 people signed a petition and fought powerfully to save the beloved speedway. Such efforts were noticed by the property’s current owners, Chesterfield’s Economic Development Authority.

“It became very clear over the time period that there were many people that wanted to see racing return to the site,” Chesterfield’s EDA Director Garrett Hart said.

In the past, officials left open the possibility to restore the track. Submitted development proposals could include hotels, playgrounds, or recreational sporting venues.

“It’s a really nice piece of property that can do more things than just racing,” Hart said, “So that’s how we’ve been looking at it. “

However, due to the cacophony of different perspectives attempting to join forces and, after seeing strong community advocacy for revitalizing the old track, officials decided to essentially split up the nearly sixty-acre project.

“The development community, which would give us the hotels and the restaurants and things like that, were not really interested in being part of a sports facility,” Hart said. “While the racing community was interested in all of that, they had trouble connecting to the development community.”

One part of the project focuses on lodging, dining and other amenities, while the other focuses on the automobile racetrack. Chesterfield’s EDA will be accepting proposals for ways to specifically revitalize the racetrack until October 11.

A stipulation for those submitted proposals is that they must include a racetrack component. 8News asked for clarification on what this means for the future of the speedway and whether or not this announcement guarantees a racetrack is coming.

“No,” Hart clarified. “It has to be able to operate and make money, okay? So that’s what this process is determining. There’s a lot of desire to have it back, but it needs to be back and take care of itself.”

Chesterfield’s EDA is accepting and reviewing racetrack proposals, but if they don’t feel any meet their qualifications, they will re-visit other options. A full list of requirements can be found here.