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Archive for Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wyandotte County site chosen for camp for chronically ill children

June 2, 2011

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— A camp for chronically ill children sponsored by NASCAR star Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, will be built on 65 acres in Wyandotte County not far from the Kansas Speedway.

The goal is to have at least part of the Victory Junction Midwest camp off Interstate 70 just east of the Speedway open by 2014, Pattie Petty announced Wednesday.

"We believe we have found the perfect property for our camp in Kansas City," said Pattie Petty, CEO and co-founder of the original Victory Junction camp in Randleman, N.C.

The camp, expected to cost $35 million, is free for children 6 to 16 who have severe or life-threatening illnesses. The Pettys had earlier chosen a site in western Wyandotte County but environmental issues made it cost-prohibitive to build the hospital, The Kansas City Star reported.

The land must be re-zoned for a special-use permit and more money must be raised for the camp, which depends on donations.

"We have many different groups who have shown significant interest in contributing to camp, but they prefer to know the exact location of camp prior to making a final commitment," said John McKee, president of Victory Junction. "We believe the acquisition of this property will build momentum from a fundraising perspective within a community that has already proven to be very generous."

The Pettys opened the original Victory Junction Camp on 72 acres in 2004 to honor of their son, Adam, a NASCAR driver who died in a crash at Loudon, N.H., in 2000. That camp has a distinctive auto-racing theme. The hospital is called The Body Shop and the dining hall is The Fuel Stop.

"If you picked up the North Carolina camp and moved it here," Pattie Petty said, "you would see the Kurt Busch Superdome (indoor kickball on a rubberized baseball layout), you would see the Jimmie Johnson Victory (Bowling) Lanes, you would see Michael Waltrip's gymnasium."

With as many as 3,500 campers and their families using the original Victory Junction each year, the Pettys began looking for a site to accommodate those from outside the southeastern U.S. Since opening in 2004, Victory Junction has served more than 15,000 children and families from all 50 states and four countries.

Kyle Petty chose Kansas City in 2007 because of his association with Sprint — which sponsored his and Adam's Sprint Cup cars.

Pattie Petty said the Kansas camp does not need to be NASCAR-themed.

"I hope everyone in NASCAR gets involved in it, but I want this to be a Midwest-themed park," she said.

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