The New York Racing Association is aiming to break ground on a $455 million Belmont Park modernization project in 2024 that will transform the historic racing venue.
According to a NYRA spokesperson, there isn’t a set construction timeline, but the goal is to begin the project after next year’s Belmont Stakes.
The Long Island Association Economic Development & Infrastructure Committee held an event at Belmont Park on June 16 to educate invitees about the extensive renovations of the horse racing facility that are planned. Funding for the project will come from a loan included in the state fiscal year 2024 budget.
“Belmont Park is a historic and unique asset for Long Island, and a reinvigorated facility will allow Belmont to unlock its full economic potential and have a ripple effect in terms of jobs, tourism, and business opportunities across our region,” Matt Cohen, president and CEO of LIA, said.
The New York Racing Association plans to demolish Belmont Park, on Hempstead Turnpike, and rebuild it from scratch, transforming the racetrack into a winterized facility complete with a new clubhouse and grandstand — all at no cost to taxpayers, officials said. The group plans to borrow the money from the state and pay it off over the course of 20 years using state-backed bonds
According to NYRA, the project will provide a $1 billion one-time economic impact from construction, supporting 3,700 temporary jobs and $45 million in state and local tax revenues.
In addition, the renovations would bring in $155 million of annual economic impact from annual spending and operations, as well as $110 million in state and local tax revenues.
A revamped Belmont Park could lure 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 it has not returned due to the venue’s aging infrastructure.
“The transformation of Belmont Park will secure the future of thoroughbred racing in New York State, create thousands of good jobs and drive tourism to Long Island and the region for decades to come,” said David O’Rourke, president and CEO of NYRA. “We thank the Long Island Association and its members for recognizing the importance of this project for the future of Long Island.”
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages said there are a few formal processes that need to happen before shovels officially break ground, such as environmental impact studies, but she is looking forward to seeing the economic boost the project will have on the Elmont area.
Solages said that during construction, events scheduled for Belmont Park including the Belmont Stakes, will most likely be held at either at the Saratoga Race Course or the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.
“I think Saratoga is a beautiful town because they integrate horse racing into their community — I hope we can duplicate that,” Solages said. “I’m curious to see how they’re going to do the race, but it’s not going to compare to having it in Elmont.”