Study: demolish Pimlico and rebuild

Project could cost $424 million
Posted at 7:28 PM, Dec 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 19:28:58-05

BALTIMORE — It's about as well-known as Secretariat, Old Hilltop is ancient...and falling apart.

So much so that the Maryland Stadium Authority's much anticipated study released Thursday, says the best course of action is just to tear it down and rebuild.

"Well obviously given the condition of the facility we would like it to happen sooner rather than later," said President of the Baltimore Development Corporation Bill Cole.

Cole says it’s an obvious option that would keep the Preakness running in Baltimore and connect other re-vitalization efforts to lift Park Heights.

"You add this in, you add the major re-development area and Sinai's expansion and Park Heights becomes a very, very vibrant place," Cole said.

But it will come at a very, very high price. The slick new vision that includes re-positioning the track, a modern grandstand and mixed use, year-round facility comes at a 424-million-dollar price tag.

"This is decades overdue in my opinion and it is exciting for all the surrounding communities to actually now have some raw numbers," said Baltimore City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer.

Schleifer says it is worth the money and that this project is a lynch pin for a transformation of Park Heights, likening it to what the Inner Harbor did for downtown.

It is unclear how it would get funded, but he says finally having a blueprint allows track ownership, city and state to move forward.

"It's the perfect spot in the city that can really use the infusion and we all have to do our part,” Schleifer said, “The city has to do our part, the state has to do their part, the stadium authority, the jockey club...I really think that everyone is going to come to the table."

And one of those stakeholders in the governor who reiterated to WMAR-2 News today that he has always been supportive of keeping the Preakness at Pimlico and will be reviewing the study in the coming days.

The new proposed track will actually be slightly shorter, but it is clear it will take every fraction of a tenth of a mile to get the project across the finish line. To learn more, click here.