New Horse Racing Track In Plymouth Township Moves Closer To Approval
PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, MI — A new harness racing track may be coming to Plymouth Township after officials approved plans during a special June 1 meeting.
The Plymouth Township Planning Commission unanimously approved the development plans, sending them to the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees, who could give final approval as soon as its June 27 meeting.
Plans call for the roughly $25 million facility, called Northville Downs of Plymouth Township, to be built on part of a 128-acre parcel near Five Mile and Ridge roads. In addition to the racetrack, the new facility would also include a grandstand, main building, large patio and a horse barn.
While some residents voiced concerns, particularly an increase in traffic in the area where the facility will be built, township officials said traffic concerns are exaggerated, citing a township study available on the township’s website.
Other longtime residents voiced concerns during the meeting over the gambling they believe will happen at the track. Although residents acknowledged the legitimacy of the betting, some said they don’t want it in their community.
“I opposed to having this racetrack in my community,” one resident said during the meeting. “It is a gaming place, there is betting going on…it is legitimate, but I don’t want it in my community.”
Another resident who said she grew up around Northville Downs as her father raced horses, cautioned that gambling, one way or another, will happen at the new facility.
“Please be considerate with our community,” she said. “Somebody loses money and they’re angry, they come out of there angry, there’s so many things to be considered.”
Officials said they are not rushing the approval process and reiterated there were no plans to build a casino at the proposed racetrack site.
Northville Downs has been looking for a new location since its property at Seven Mile and Sheldon roads was sold five years ago. New developers are planning to build homes, stores and parks on the property.
The harness racing track has been a main attraction in Northville since 1944 and is the oldest and only remaining nighttime harness racing track in Michigan.