Special provision could open the door for York racetrack and casino

The city of York is discussing a possible change to zoning rules, which could open the door for a racetrack in the near future.

YORK, Neb. (KLKN) – The city of York is discussing a possible change to zoning rules, which could open the door for a racetrack in the near future.

“We’re talking about adding a special-use provision that allows for public events in [agriculture] districts,” city administrator Dr. Sue Crawford said.

Crawford explains that a public event could be a music venue or a racetrack.

In July, a group called Freedom Bay, Inc. proposed building a new racetrack in York near I-80 and Route 81. However, there are several steps that need to be taken before that can happen.

“You can grow corn, but you can’t have a big public event with lots of parking and lots of traffic as something that you’re doing in the ag districts,” she said. “That’s the discussion tonight: Do we allow racetracks or other public venues in our ag districts? 

Nearby residents say they would support a horsetrack in York.

“I think it’d be kind of cool,” Geneva resident John Kramer said. “[It would] bring in more excitement around York.”

“If it improves the economy, yeah that’s great,” York resident William Cane said.

Freedom Bay is proposing a practice track, stables and concessions in Phase 1 of their plan.

“The next step for Freedom Bay, if they get approval from the racing commission, would be to come back and ask us for permission to use that public use for a public venue,” Crawford said.

Crawford said there is no timetable for when Freedom Bay could receive approval from the racing commission.

“If we pass the ordinance tonight and Freedom Bay gets its approval, they can come back and ask for permission to have a practice track public venue outside the city of York,” Crawford said. “After that, there are all kinds of discussions that will need to happen before we get to Phase 2, which is the big fancy racetrack and casino. So that’s not on the table yet.”

Categories: Nebraska News, News, York