The Lincoln Race Course has cleared one administrative hurdle on its way to hopefully expanding live horse racing.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday recommended approval of an amendment to the development plan for Southwest Village at South First Street and West Denton Road.
The Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association had originally planned to build a 1-mile-long track on the site, which would have required the relocation of South First Street, but it later determined that would be too expensive.
The horsemen’s group said last year it plans to build a smaller 7/8-mile track, which will not require relocation of the road.
The Planning Commission OK'd that change as well as one that would allow excavation and soil mining at the site, which is likely to occur with future phases of development.
Omaha Exposition and Racing has been hosting live races one or two days a year on a single straightaway track so it can fulfill state requirements to offer simulcasting at its 500-seat wagering facility in southwest Lincoln.
The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association hopes to build the new track this summer and host races in late August or early September. It would allow the Lincoln Race Course to host an extended live racing meet in the city for the first time since 2012.
Current plans call for only the track to be built at this time. Officials hope to add grandstand seating and other facilities in the future.
"This will be the largest oval in the state of Nebraska, so we're pretty excited about that," said Lynne Schuller, executive director of the horsemen's group.
The change in the plan still must be approved by the City Council.
In other action Wednesday, the Planning Commission recommended approval of a plan to designate the century-old Strode Building at 1600 O St. as a local historic landmark.
Jeff Koepke, who owns BK Restoration in Lincoln, is buying the building and plans to redevelop it with commercial space on the first floor and 13 apartments on the second floor.
The historic landmark designation would make the project eligible to receive historic tax credits.