LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A topping off-ceremony Friday marked a big day for a racetrack in northern Kentucky, as the final beam was placed on what will become the new Turfway Park Racing and Gaming facility in Florence.
"It'll be the largest simulcast area in the state of Kentucky," said Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen.
Churchill Downs bought Turfway Park Jack Ohio LLC in 2019, with plans to renovate and revive the racetrack. The $145 million renovation project, which includes the purchase price of the property, will replace grandstands and add a new clubhouse, track and gaming machines.
Organizers say the renovated Turfway will help the region's economy, while keeping the money local. The state-of-the-art facility will continue to offer live thoroughbred racing, and will also debut historical horse racing.
"Horseracing in Kentucky generates an annual economic impact of $3.4 billion," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a ceremony Friday morning. "Sale and stud fees accounted for cash receipts of nearly $400 million a year."
Organizers say the project has created 800 construction jobs, and will create 400 additional full-time and part-time positions.
"Those people are our friends, those people are our neighbors, those people are our residents and we're grateful they have the opportunity, as the community goes back to work to have this as an option as a place to be," said Florence Mayor Diane Whalen.
Beshear said the investment in the racetrack will pay off.
"We are building something that will stand the test of time, and that people are excited to come and see, that's going to be a destination we can advertise and will continue to draw so many people to Northern Kentucky."
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