HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Parts of the shuttered Atlantic City Race Course, including the horse stables and the clubhouse at the site, are starting to deteriorate.
Since its closure more than a year ago, the dirt racing surface has become overgrown with weeds and racing barriers have started to crumble.
The owners of property have filed another appeal with the township seeking a reduction in taxes on the more than 250-acre property. The pending appeal is the second in four years for Bensalem, Pennsylvania-based Greenwood ACRA Inc. which owns the racetrack, according to township records
“It’s almost demolition by neglect,” said Mayor Roger Silva. “They are still holding auctions there, they have security, and they are still paying their taxes, so there is little that we can do about it.”
Representatives from Greenwood did not respond to emails seeking comment.
The park opened its gates July 22, 1946, and closed in January 2015, citing “continuous business decline in the industry, the current regional economic climate and the absence of alternative revenue opportunities.”
The future of the property remains undecided, Silva said, adding that he has had limited contact with the owners of the property.
In April, real estate mogul Glenn Straub, who owns the former Revel casino in Atlantic City, expressed interest in purchasing the facility, as did the owners of Monmouth Park.
“It’s one of the largest available parcels of land left in the area,” Silva said, adding that it’s zoned commercial/recreation. “I hope that something happens soon with the property.”
Committeeman John Kurtz, who also serves as a director on the Mays Landing Merchants Association and owner of County Seat Floral on Main Street, said he would like to see a hotel developed on the property.
“I have brides calling me all of the time looking for hotels and we have to send them over to Egg Harbor Township,” Kurtz said. “This is the largest municipality in the state and we don’t have any place for people to stay.”
In 2012, Greenwood won an assessment appeal that saw the taxable value of the property drop from $20 million to its current $5.4 million, according to the public records. The change in tax payments was phased in over 2012, 2013 and 2014, officials said.
No date for the current tax appeal hearing has been set, said William Johnson, township tax assessor.
When Greenwood announced the park’s closing in January, the company did not disclose future plans for the property.
Greenwood has a tax credit of more than $176,000 with the township because of past appeal, according to public records.
Based on the township’s 2015 tax rate of 83.6 cents per $100 of assessed value, the racetrack’s annual tax bill is about $45,671. The credit could potentially cover about three years of worth of payments, and that could grow based on the outcome of the pending tax appeal, officials said.