Skelos And Senate Racing Committee Hold Hearing On The Future Of Belmont Park At Elmont Memorial Library

Dean G. Skelos

October 02, 2007

At the request of Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), Senator Bill Larkin (R-Cornwall-on-Hudson) and the State Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering held its second of three public hearings to examine the future of the State Racing Franchise at the Elmont Library.

This second hearing focused on issues related to the impact of awarding the State Racing Franchise on communities surrounding Belmont Park. "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," said Senator Larkin. "Further, the managers of Belmont Park should become an integral part of the Elmont community and give back to this community."

The Racing Committee heard testimony from a wide cross section of community leaders, including county and town officials, the police department, representatives from the local chambers of commerce, school district officials, clergy and members of other civic groups.

Senator Skelos said, "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, Governor Spitzer failed to solicit the community’s involvement and Belmont was little more than an afterthought in the Governor’s proposal. I greatly appreciate Senator Larkin’s decision to hold a hearing in Nassau County and empower local residents to shape the future of their community."

At the Committee’s September 27th hearing in Albany, it was disclosed that NYRA owes Nassau County over $20 million in property tax payments for Belmont Park that accrued during the last three years. "We must ensure that the bidder or consortium of bidders authorized to manage Belmont Park makes a profit so that it will have the ability to pay its fair share of real property taxes and pay them on time," stated Senator Skelos.