'Iconic' And Ghostly: Long-Abandoned Phoenix Trotting Park Set For Demolition - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Iconic’ And Ghostly: Long-Abandoned Phoenix Trotting Park Set For Demolition

Long abandoned, the Phoenix Trotting Park grandstand is set for demolition by the end of the year

Hopes and optimism ran high in 1965 when the Phoenix Trotting Park, a futuristically-designed harness racing track that opened in Goodyear, Arizona.

The facility, which opened on Jan. 11, 1965, seemed to be doomed from the start. Originally budgeted at $3 million to build, the track ended up costing around $10 million. The track was the vision of New York businessman and entrepreneur, James Dunnigan, who also owned Buffalo Raceway in Hamburg, New York.

Even though 12,000 people packed the facility on opening day, the racetrack struggled, with a variety of factors – the desert heat, and the fact that the park is also located about 20 miles outside of Phoenix, and was built long before any major roads made the area easily accessible to those in the city. So, as the Arizona Republic reports, racing was abandoned after 2 1/2 years.

Since 1966, the grandstand and surrounding property have remained vacant. Over the years, proposals for the land have been floated, but none of them ever came to fruition. Crews are currently completing the process of removing asbestos from the building, and it will then be demolished.

Not everyone is happy to see that happen, however. Sharon Girulat, a Goodyear resident, has advocated to preserve and re-purpose the building, for something like a performing arts school, with outdoor places for concerts and indoor practice halls and a performance hall.

“It works because that physical structure is iconic, it's so unique, so beautifully built,” she said. “It's magnificent.”

Read more in the Arizona Republic

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