Local Saratoga businesses happy NYRA is becoming private again

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) –  After years of state control, local businesses in Downtown Saratoga are happy that New York State Racing Association (NYRA) is becoming private again.

“This is great news we’re really excited,” Heidi West, of Lifestyles Saratoga, said.

“It definitely going to help to have people who know Saratoga understand the impact that the racing has on the entire community,” Maddy Zanetti, of the Downtown Business Association, said.

The state government took control of the NYRA back in 2012 after Governor Cuomo pointed to multiple concerns at the track, including an increase in horse deaths.

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce says things have changed recently. Saratoga Mayor Joanne Yepsen says now the city can get more involved in the critical racing season.

“We know best on what is going to make racing successful here and we know best how to attract people here,” Mayor Yepsen said.

“We do know what downtown Saratoga needs and we’ll be able to have more of a voice we haven’t had in the past few years,” West said.

West owns Lifestyles of Saratoga on Broadway. She says she’s excited to have more localized voices on a not for profit private board who will hear the needs of local businesses. She already has some suggestions.

“We’d really like to get people down here a little bit earlier over the past several years people have been at NYRA or at the track much much later and longer and we’ve lost some business because of it.”

The Saratoga County Chamber says NYRA will operate very much as a partnership between the public and private sectors. We could start to see some changes as early as this summer.

Now under the re-privatization plan, the state calls for a 17 member board. On that board will be NYRA President Chris Kay.

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