The Pimlico Race Track site has the potential to radically alter the landscape of the 41st District. Attending community meetings and knocking on doors around the race track, we’ve heard one thing over and over: people are clamoring for Pimlico to be used year-round instead of sitting empty for so much of the year. Such a large property that sits at the intersection of so many neighborhoods could provide the jobs and property value increases to lift thousands of residents out of poverty. The Preakness is an event that has the potential to draw investment to Pimlico in a variety of forms. I will fight to keep the Preakness at Pimlico and use its importance to generate the development needed improve the area. It is unacceptable that such a valuable area of our district, home to an internationally renowned race, sits empty for the vast majority of the year.
Two options lie before us: Either dramatically increase the number of horse races held at Pimlico each year and improve the race-day experience, or re-imagine pimlico as a year-round destination for recreation and business.
While the former option may be more aligned with the property’s historic function, Pimlico’s owners have made it clear that they see their property in Laurel as the long-term future of their racing interests in Maryland absent significant state support for Pimlico. In this case the racetrack should be developed with an eye to increasing its appeal as a year-round destination. The infield could become a public park to draw families to the area and host events. The rest of the complex could be redesigned as primarily a retail and office space so that it is providing jobs year-round. The extensive catering facilities that go unused most of the year could be repurposed as job training centers. The development should revitalize the local neighborhoods and any plan that is approved should require mixed-income housing that includes affordable units built close to the site, allowing the local neighborhoods to reap the benefits they’ve been denied for so long.
Since it is unlikely that Pimlico will ever become a year-round racing venue again, it is irresponsible to allow such a valuable space to sit empty for so much of the year. Pimlico must be developed and we must ensure that it is a destination and an economic hub for the whole year, not just for the two weeks around the Preakness. It is unacceptable for Pimlico to sit unused while the 41st District has an unemployment rate twice the national average.
Pimlico isn’t just about a racetrack or a property development. A re-imagining of pimlico will provide good-paying jobs and other economic opportunities to thousands of citizens in the surrounding area, propelling them towards the middle class.
Leverage the Preakness to generate the investment needed to revitalize Pimlico.
Redevelop Pimlico with an eye to increasing year-round use.
Infield can become a public park able to host events throughout the year.
Redevelop area around the track as a pedestrian boulevard surrounded by retail and offices with jobs all year.
Must include truly affordable housing close to Pimlico so that the local residents can enjoy the jobs that this development will bring.
77 Pedulla, Tom. “Battle Lines Form Over Plan to Take Preakness From Pimlico.” The New York Times, May 19, 2016.
78 Employment Status in State Legislative District 41, Maryland. Statistical Atlas.