Senate Racing Committee To Hold Hearing On The Impact Of Awarding The State Racing Franchise On Communities Surrounding Belmont Park

William J. Larkin, Jr.

September 28, 2007


State Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced that the State Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering will hold its second of three public hearings to examine the future of the State Racing Franchise.

This second hearing will focus 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 will hear 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. A full listing of the hearing’s witnesses will follow.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) 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 $26.6 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.

The hearing will be conducted on Monday, October 1, 2007 at 4:00 PM at Elmont Memorial Library Theater, 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, New York.