Maryland leaders formally unveil Pimlico plans

Howard County, Maryland, state Sen. Guy Guzzone has formally introduced his $375 million plan for Pimlico Race Course that would ultimately keep the Preakness in Baltimore.

The most noticeable change from the original plan, and perhaps the most important aspect to help ensure it passes, deals with the funding source.

Under Guzzone’s bill, casino money that goes to the horse industry now — but is slated to eventually be moved to the education trust fund in the future — would no longer be used to help fund the redevelopment of the northwest Baltimore racetrack and the improvements slated for Laurel Park.

Instead, Maryland state lottery revenue would help fund the plan — which would see the owners of Pimlico donate the facility to Baltimore city, which in turn would launch a massive redevelopment project there.

The land around the track would be divided up into smaller parcels of land which the city would sell to developers. The track and the horse-specific facilities would be reconfigured to better fit the neighborhood.

More money would also be provided for upgrades at Laurel Park, where most of the racing schedule takes place every year.

The Stronach Group owns the tracks in Laurel and Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun says the old racetrack in Bowie, which was briefly considered as a modernized training facility, would instead be divided up with some of the land going to Bowie State University, some to the city of Bowie, and the rest would be put in the hands of the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission.

The goal would be to create new recreational space there for students, the city and Prince George’s County residents.

The plans have long had support from the local leaders in the region, but it is still unclear if Gov. Larry Hogan supports the legislation.

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