Following years of neglect and two recent crimes, one Queens pol wants to turn the Aqueduct Racetrack from a “national disgrace” back into a community gem.
“It’s unacceptable that this once national treasure has become an eyesore and serious danger to our families and neighbors in southern Queens,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder.
Goldfeder introduced new legislation Monday that would require an existing $30 million, generated by neighboring Resorts World Casino, go directly to Aqueduct.
Earlier this month, a mentally handicapped 40-year-old woman was found naked in the racetrack’s bathroom stall after being sexually abused by Frank Wood of Pennsylvania, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.
Additionally, just this week the 1985 Breeders’ Cup trophy and several electronic items were stolen from the site, police said.
Goldfeder said his proposal would bring in funds to significantly upgrade security as well as give current employees the tools needed to combat crime. It would also go toward general upgrades for the facility.
The $30 million from Resorts World accounts for 4 percent of the racino’s yearly revenue. It is allotted to capital expenditures for maintaining and upgrading New York Racing Association (NYRA) facilities.
Currently, NYRA uses the funds at the Saratoga and Belmont racing sites.
Eric Wing, a NYRA spokesperson, said revenue received is diverted to Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct depending on what is needed in capital improvements.
“In the past year, we’ve spent well over $5 million just on upgrades at Aqueduct,” Wing said. “Everyone who comes can easily get a firsthand look at the many improvements that have been made.”
He said NYRA has a “responsibility to all three of our racetracks” and upgrades will continue to be made at the borough’s track.