STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR DAVID A. PATERSON ON DEVELOPMENT AT BELMONT PARK
"In recent weeks, my administration began discussions with legislative leaders, State economic development officials, the racing industry, and local elected officials and community representatives in Nassau County about launching a comprehensive effort to redevelop Belmont Park th a thoroughbred racetrack in Elmont, N.Y. that hosts the Belmont Stakes.
(Media-Newswire.com) - “In recent weeks, my administration began discussions with legislative leaders, State economic development officials, the racing industry, and local elected officials and community representatives in Nassau County about launching a comprehensive effort to redevelop Belmont Park – a thoroughbred racetrack in Elmont, N.Y. that hosts the Belmont Stakes.
“Last week, I tasked members of my administration to begin a planning process to explore development options at the Park. I directed Marisa Lago, President & CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation, and John Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to work with legislative leaders, Nassau County, the Town of Hempstead, Queens Community Board 13, other Local Groups, and the New York Racing Association ( NYRA ) to develop a range of possible development options for Belmont Park. Given my administration's leadership on this front, I was encouraged to learn today that Senate Majority Leader Skelos joined our own call for development options.
“Open since 1905, Belmont Park is known for its bucolic setting and easy access to local highways and the Long Island Railroad. Despite these advantages, the Park's development potential has never been realized. Belmont could create new jobs, generate additional tax revenue and bolster economic development in Elmont and other surrounding communities in Nassau and Queens Counties.
“Now that the State has selected NYRA to extend its management of the state's horseracing tracks and selected a developer to overhaul the Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont represents the next chapter as the state acts to fortify the racing sector.
“County and town officials have already begun studies related to the future of the Park. I have asked Ms. Lago and Chairman Sabini to partner with those officials and report back to me and the Franchise Oversight Board by the end of the year with a range of options that could be pursued as development opportunities for Belmont.
“Following this planning process, any development at Belmont would need to be undertaken pursuant to a competitive process approved by the Franchise Oversight Board ( FOB ), which was established this year when NYRA was awarded a 25-year franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga Racetracks. One of the key responsibilities of the FOB is to represent the interests of the State in all development proposed for Belmont, and any development must receive unanimous approval of the FOB to go forward.
“Belmont Park is a legendary host to horseracing that also holds the potential for economic development that could benefit the surrounding community and the State. Now that we have reached an agreement to extend NYRA's franchise, and chosen a developer to revamp the Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont is the next logical step in our efforts to overhaul racing in New York. Thoroughbred racing is critical to the State's economy and we need to make smart investments to maximize the benefits of this important industry.”
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