Belmont Park Focus of Next Franchise Hearing

Issues related to Belmont Park and the surrounding community will be the focus of the next New York Senate hearing on the franchise to operate the three-track Thoroughbred racing franchise.

The Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering will meet Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Elmont Memorial Library Theater in Elmont, N.Y., where Belmont is located.

“It is critical that the bidder or consortium of bidders that receives the bid to operate the state racing franchise and which will manage Belmont Park will be a good neighbor to the residents of Elmont and other communities surrounding Belmont Park,” Sen. Bill Larkin, chairman of the standing committee, said in a Sept. 28 statement. “Further, the managers of Belmont Park should become an integral part of the Elmont community and give back to this community.”

The committee will hear from a cross-section of community leaders, including county and town officials, the police department, representatives from local chambers of commerce, school district officials, clergy, and members of other civic groups, according to a release from Larkin’s office.

Said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean Skelos: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore Belmont Park as a racing destination and catalyze economic growth in the surrounding community. Unfortunately, Gov. Spitzer failed to solicit the community’s involvement, and Belmont was little more than an afterthought in the governor’s proposal.”

Gov. Eliot Spitzer in early September recommended the New York Racing Association retain the franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. There have been discussions on allowing a video lottery terminal casino at Belmont.

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