Northville Downs opens – city leaders languish on
Apr. 2, 2021 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Northville Downs Race Track has amassed a lot of attention in the past two years as planned downtown development threatens to forever change the quaint small town. In the meantime harness racing will continue at the track located in the center of the development site through 2024 after racetrack owners signed a long-term lease.
Bettors will return to the track for live harness racing this week staring on Friday. Friday’s co-features are the $8,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace and the $8,000 Open Handicap Trot, slotted as the eighth and ninth races on an 11-race program. The highlight of Saturday’s 12-race card is the $8,000 Open Handicap Pace, programmed as race eight.
In the fall of 2019 concerns expressed by local residents was a factor in the withdrawal of a plan to develop the 48-acre racetrack property into a commercial and residential feature of the city. Hunter-Pasteur Homes withdrew its Planned Urban Development (PUD) application, which would have developed the first 13-acre northern portion of the Northville Downs site into 300 apartments and 19,000 square feet of commercial property. The total cost of development of the land had been reported at $200 million.
That withdrawal allowed Watermark Residential of Indianapolis to submit a plan for a mixed-use apartment-retail building on Cady Street. Hunter-Pasteur had plans to sell the land on Cady Street to Watermark, according to city officials.
According to a city spokesman at the time, the size and scope of the project made it difficult for Hunter-Pasteur to meet all the conditions for site approval. Additionally, residents had expressed opposition to the project noting concerns about a range of items – including increased traffic, the density of the project and environmental issues.
Business owners and others interested in the proposed development expressed concern about the capability of the current city infrastructure to meet the needs of another 1,000 residents. Others questioned the impact of additional students in the schools. Planning Commission members discussed a tax abatement of $9.5 million to cover the cost of environmental factors that need to be remedied at an estimated cost of $4.5 million as well as building 160 additional parking spaces that were not part of his original plan, estimated to cost another $5 million.
To the surprise of many, the Hunter-Pasteur PUD called for a traffic circle in downtown Northville. Traffic circles are often called roundabouts. City contracted engineers, OHM Advisors of Livonia, presented an analysis of options for improved traffic flow-disagree claiming that installing a roundabout at Seven Mile and Sheldon Road would be the best way to alleviate traffic congestion.
In June, Planning Commissioners reviewed three areas of their Master Plan set for redevelopment and sought respondents to surveys about the Racetrack, Cady St./Cady Town and South Center Street areas.
The huge mixed-use development planned at the race-track site scheduled to start last year has been delayed indefinitely.
According to Northville Mayor Brian Turnbull the Northville Downs development site is “…probably the most sought-after 49 acres in southeast Michigan.”
The Michigan Horsemens Association has announced the program will continue through June 26, with a nightly post time of 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday evening.