BALTIMORE (WJZ) — City code enforcement met with the Maryland Jockey Club to make sure Pimlico would be safe for Preakness attendees in light of the grandstand seats being deemed “unsafe” in a recent report.
Acting Mayor Jack Young addressed concerns about safety at a press conference Wednesday when officials announced “Race to Preakness” events ahead of the May 18 race.
A March 20 assessment report said areas of the old grandstand are deteriorating and unsafe for attendees due to “years of neglect” and “deferred maintenance.”
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“If the owners continue to leave these matters unaddressed the Maryland Jockey Club has provided us with preliminary information as to their plans of action for hosting the Preakness in May,” Young said. “As permits are applied for we will revisit the site to make ensure the facility is fit for the intended use of that occupancy, measures are sufficient and all safety standards are being met.”
City engineers will review the assessment report and provide their own response to the findings and recommendations.
The Stronach Group, who owns the jockey club, Pimlico and Laurel Park, denied Young’s claim that the grandstands deteriorated due to neglect.
“It’s a false narrative that the facilities have been neglected. Pimlico is over a hundred years old and certain facilities, like the grandstand in the third division, have been exposed all that time to the elements. Both our engineers and [Maryland Stadium Authority] have concluded that it is in need of major repairs or replacement, which in either case is prohibitively costly,” said Bill Hecht, ofThe Stronach Group.
Young could not say if the seating would be replaced by the Preakness Stakes.
Attendees who purchased tickets in that area were provided with other seating.