Josephine County signs lease agreement, extends horse racing

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– A new deal to bring more horse racing to southern Oregon has reached the finish line.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners agreed to a long-term lease with horse racing company TMB Racing.

As part of the agreement, the company will pay $175,000 a year to use portions of the fairgrounds. County Commissioner Dan DeYoung says that during public discussions many residents voiced how important the fairgrounds were to the community. With this newfound money, the plan is to have it go towards repairing and improving the grounds.

“When it goes to the fairgrounds it will allow us, as a fairgrounds, to catch up on a lot of the deferred maintenance we haven’t been able to do,” said DeYoung.

TMB Racing is also planning on designing a historic racing terminal and when it receives a certificate of occupancy, the lease for the fairgrounds is expected to go up to $275,000 a year. DeYoung says it may take two to three years to see that happen but this is a great step for the county overall.

“I think this one contract and all the commas and zeros that are involved in it, I think it’s one of the biggest contracts and improvements to the fairgrounds that we’ve seen certainly in my lifetime,” he said.

DeYoung says Tuesday was the second to last day to sign the contract or else they would have lost the whole deal. Now, with the signing of this agreement more horse racing is set to open with a fall season starting up this September.

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