09/01/2011 3:54PM

NYRA seeks input on improvements

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The New York Racing Association has begun soliciting input from the public and community officials on capital-improvement projects it may undertake at Saratoga Race Course using subsidies from slot machines at a planned casino at its downstate Aqueduct racetrack.

NYRA, the operator of Saratoga, Aqueduct, and Belmont Park, unveiled 21 of the potential projects on Thursday, including renovations to the grounds and facilities on both the frontside and backside. Aside from renovations to the backside’s dormitories and barns, NYRA said it had not yet decided which projects would be funded over the course of the next five to ten years.

“This menu of potential projects is designed to generate feedback from the public in order to incorporate the needs and wants of every Saratoga stakeholder, including the fans, horsemen, and general community,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA’s chief executive, in a release.

NYRA is expected to receive approximately $30 million a year in subsidies for capital improvements after the Aqueduct casino opens. NYRA is also expected to receive approximately $25 million a year for its operating expenses from the casino.

NYRA has been working with Turnberry Consulting U.S., an architectural planning company, on master plans for its racetracks. In the release, NYRA said that Saratoga would be the focus of the first phases of its capital improvement projects “based on need.”

Saratoga held its first race meet in 1863. Though the grandstand and clubhouse has undergone several renovations, the building retains most of its original architectural features.

NYRA has posted a detailed list of the potential projects at its website, www.nyra.com.