Both houses of NY legislature signal support for Belmont Park plan

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: March 14, 2023

A proposal to authorize about $455 million for the renovation and redevelopment of Belmont Park has received support from Senate and Assembly majorities in the New York legislature. Gov. Kathy Hochul included the plan in her executive budget, which was released in February.

“The construction of a new Belmont Park will create thousands of jobs, generate billions in economic activity and secure the future of Thoroughbred racing in New York State at no cost to taxpayers,” Patrick McKenna, Vice President for Communications at the New York Racing Association, said in a release.

The project relies on state-backed bonds and a regular contribution of video lottery terminal revenue dedicated to NYRA by statute.

Hochul’s proposal calls for live racing to end at Aqueduct Racetrack when the new Belmont is ready to accommodate racing. The Assembly in its budget response said it “modifies the proposal which authorizes a $455 million fund for the renovation and redevelopment project at Belmont Park, financed by the state and repaid by the New York Racing Association, to remove any requirement of Aqueduct Racetrack closing following the completion of the redevelopment project and ensure that such projects are undertaken pursuant to a project labor agreement.”

The parties are expected to develop a consensus over the next few weeks. The New York state budget must be approved by April 1.

On March 13, a coalition called We Are Horse NY Horse Racing lobbied at the state capitol in support of the Belmont redevelopment plan; more than 100 people attended the event.