Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce Calls on Businesses, Residents and Elected Officials to Support Retaining Preakness Stakes at Pimilco
Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce Calls on
Businesses, Residents and Elected Officials to Support Retaining Preakness Stakes at Pimlico
Baltimore (April 16, 2017) While attendance at the Kentucky Derby declined in 2013 and again in 2016, attendance at the Preakness Stakes has steadily increased over the past four years and drew a record crowd of 140,327 in 2017.
The Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce today called on local businesses, residents and elected officials to support retaining the Second Jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico.
“As the largest single-day event in Maryland, the Preakness holds immense value and is vital to Baltimore’s continued economic advancement,” said Eben Frederick, president, Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce. “As the chief advocate for our City’s business community, the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce is opposed to moving the race to Laurel.
“With four weeks until race day, businesses have the opportunity to show their support through sponsorships and other channels. Conversely, if people sit back and do nothing, the result will not only be catastrophic, but permanent.”
In 2015, the Preakness generated approximately $18.9 million in direct spending, supporting approximately 480 FTE jobs and $12.9 million in employee income.
In addition to the aforementioned data, findings from phase 1 of a report examining the future viability of hosting the race at Old Hill Top estimate that Pimlico will require approximately $300 million in renovations. Nonetheless, the report’s authors stated that, “Based on our observations, there do not appear to be any situational factors that cannot be overcome with regard to continue hosting the Preakness at Pimlico.
“The Preakness has consistently increased in attendance 77,850 in 2009 to 135,256 in 2016. Given this growth, it is difficult to make the argument that Pimlico's location and or facilities are detrimental to the Preakness.”
The Pimlico race track is an institution that is integral to Baltimore’s history and identity.
Investing in its renovation would spur economic development in the surrounding neighborhoods, benefitting not only track visitors, but many city residents.
To move the Preakness Stakes from Baltimore to Laurel would require approval from the Maryland General Assembly.
“60 years ago, a bill for closing Pimlico and transferring the dates to Laurel was defeated by a 15-14 vote in the Maryland legislature,” noted Public Affairs and Policy Committee Chairman for the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce, Mostafa Razzak. “If it comes down to another vote, it is the responsibility of every business owner and resident to let our elected officials know that history must repeat itself.
“To put it in perspective, losing the Preakness would be worse for Baltimore than when the Colts left, as it’s highly unlikely that a fourth leg will be added to the Triple Crown.”
ABOUT BALTIMORE CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
As the voice of Baltimore businesses, the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce’s focus is to serve as a forum through which members are able to grow their respective businesses. Programs and initiatives foster collaboration long-term growth, and development, and each campaign is designed to promote both members and the City’s core value propositions. The Chamber is committed to advocating for the continuing adoption of a pro-business agenda by the City of Baltimore and the region on behalf of its members.