High Noon showdown – decisive confrontation or peaceful settlement

Jan. 18, 2024  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News


The plans for opening a harness track in Plymouth Township has received a lot of media attention in the last year, especially this week now that Northville Downs will hold its last harness race early next month.

Northville’s $200 million planned unit housing development by Farmington Hills developer Hunter Pasteur Homes on the current Northville Downs property is now coming to fruition after stumbling many times to get off the ground.

On the table is the finalization of a Community Benefits Agreement and plan approvals that will allow Northville Downs to construct a new half-mile oval harness racetrack at Five Mile and Ridge roads. Media outlets reiterated confirmed plans for the development of a two-story, 4,900-square-foot grandstand with a large patio for standing room race viewing, a 23,000-square-foot racing building, a 35,000-square-foot horse barn and a 3,200-square-foot maintenance building. Northville Downs has purchased the 128 acres of land in western Plymouth Township.

Former Michigan Attorney General, and attorney for Northville Downs, Mike Cox, urged the township to drop its demand for the community benefits agreement in a less than friendly letter last week addressed to the township supervisor, board of trustees and Hometown Life, alleging they are making “illegal requests for extra money,” and to allow his client’s plans to go forward at the next scheduled board meeting.

Since last January, upset township residents have brought the issue to the forefront, instituted a petition drive (STOP-THE-RACETRACK) and continually expressed their opposition for the racetrack by publicly pressing board members to reconsider-claiming the arrangements were made in secrecy and lacked transparency.

Citing no benefit to township residents, increased traffic congestion in the area, and the potential for expanded gaming with the possibility of a future casino, the grassroots group says official are ignoring the township master plan and their voices.

Some in opposition to the new racetrack would like to see an outright ban on horse racing and call out horse health, abuse, animal safety and name morality, unethical practices and an unsavory element of gamblers requiring increased need for public safety.

Northville Downs opened in 1944.


Heard On the Street – Harness racing coming to Plymouth


Final OK for racetrack project rests with township trustees


Plymouth Voice.


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