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City of Bowie May Acquire Bowie Racetrack

The property is not for sale, but it may be in the near future.

Though the property is not yet for sale, the City of Bowie--with help from the state of Maryland and Prince George’s County--may acquire the property known as the Bowie Racetrack if it becomes available.

The racetrack is currently operated as a training facility by the Maryland Jockey Club, although a letter from Gov. Martin O’Malley to Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson indicated that the owners might be considering moving the training facilities to another location.

"It is my understanding that the track owners are in discussions with the horsemen to move the training facilities to other tracks. It is therefore appropriate to plan for the future of this historic property," wrote O'Malley in his letter to Robinson.

The legislation making the property a training facility also stipulates that if the owner decides to sell, the state would have the first opportunity to purchase the property and the city of Bowie would get the second opportunity, said Bowie Council Member Todd Turner (At-large).

In his letter, O’Malley expressed interest in helping the city purchase the property under the state’s Open Spaces Program should it come up for sale.

The program would provide for equitable cost-sharing between the state, county and city in the purchase of the property.  Under the conditions of the program, the state would have no ownership of the property and part of the property that runs along the Patuxent River would have to provide public water access.

According to Turner, the property is broken into two separate zoning segments—the property where the stables are housed is zoned for residential development, and the property where the racetrack lies is zoned to allow for estate development. Estate development mandates that each residential home developed would sit on a minimum of five acres, whereas regular residential zoned property allows for higher density housing. 

With help from the state and county, Bowie could preserve the property and keep it from being developed into housing, instead making it an open space for recreational usage for residents who live in that section of Bowie.

O’Malley also mentioned that the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission may have an interest in the riverfront property.

In other news relating to the property, residents in the Saddlebrook communities have raised concerns that the Bowie Racetrack fence that runs along Racetrack Road has fallen into disrepair. Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith sent a letter to Laurel Park earlier this month asking for the issue to be addressed.

As of last week, it appeared that some repairs had been made to the fence.

Valerie Ormond October 10, 2012 at 04:19 PM
As a Maryland horseperson, I hope that the Bowie Training Facility is not closed. But if it is, I hope for some type of continued equine use so that Bowie can maintain its historical horse heritage. We don't need more housing developments or shopping centers, we need places for people to be outside and enjoy the few open spaces we have left.

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