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State approves $455m loan for Belmont racetrack project


The Belmont Park redevelopment plan is a go. 

Governor Kathy Hochul  and other New York State lawmakers approved of a $455 million loan which will aid in the complete modernization of the 118-year-old horse racing facility in Elmont. 

The New York Racing Association plans to demolish Belmont Park, on Hempstead Turnpike, rebuild it from scratch and transform the racetrack into a winterized facility complete with a new clubhouse and grandstand — all at no cost to taxpayers. The group plans to borrow the money from the state and pay it off over the span of 20 years through state-backed bonds.

Jack Sterne, a representative of We Are NY Horse Racing, previously told the Herald the horse racing industry has had a $3 billion impact on New York's economy.

The sport itself has created 19,000 state jobs and the redevelopment project would create  roughly  $1 billion of economic activity during the rebuilding process and roughly 3,700 construction jobs.

After the facility is built, it would fetch $155 million of economic activity annually and sustain 740 new full-time jobs, Sterne said.

Home of the Belmont Stakes — the final jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown — Belmont Park has been at the center of some of the most exciting moments in sports history, including Secretariat’s riveting Triple Crown in 1973. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that triumphant victory.

A revamped Belmont Park could potentially make its own history with the possibility of luring the Breeders’ Cup back to New York, officials said. Known to fans as the Super Bowl of horse racing, the last time the event was hosted at Belmont Park was in 2005 and has not returned due to the venue’s aging infrastructure.

This is a developing story.