Proposed horse race track bigger, more expensive

Bismarck, ND – A proposed Fargo horse racing track has gotten a bit longer and more expensive.

At first the track was six furlongs -- or three quarters of a mile. Now it is six and a half furlongs. That will allow a six-furlong race to be run, so that the finish line will be in front of the temporary grandstand.

Ken Pawluk is a spokesperson for the Fargo group designing the track. He says finances for the track are tight. Right now it has a construction budget of about two-point-one million dollars. But that doesn't include a permanent grandstand -- or toilets for people who come to the track. And the parking lot won't be paved.

Still -- Pawluk says the track will be attractive to horsemen. And he says racing should begin in 2003.

"In 2002, we should be able to do all of the construction we need to do, so that by this time next year, the track is pretty much ready. All we need to do is wait for the grass to grow, so that in June of 2003, we can be ready to race." :15)

Pawluk says the Racing Commission realizes that this project is being built in stages.

"The only thing that we can do is we can only build the amount of infrastructure that we have the funding for. And essentially, what we have funding for is the race track , and some of the basic infrastructure. We'll still need to figure out a way to get a grandstand funded long-term, and additional barns, and additional facility enhancements as time goes on. But I appreciate the fact that the Racing Commission was very far-thinking in approving the plan, recognizing that we'll start with this, and we'll build as we go."

Pawluk says preliminary plans call for at least four weekends of racing that first year.