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Horse-racing group seeking to block demolition of MetraPark grandstands in Billings

metrapark grandstands.jpg
Posted at 9:52 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 15:57:07-04

A horse-racing trade group is seeking to block the demolition of the MetraPark grandstands.

The Montana Race Horse Owners and Breeders filed suit in Yellowstone County district court Monday seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the demolition, which is expected to begin this week.

The group argued that Yellowstone County commissioners failed to consider the historical value of the grandstands, didn't adequately address long term plans for replacement and failed to address discrepancies in the existing assessment and contract for demolition.

In February, commissioners voted to demolish the 71-year-old grandstands, which have been deemed unsafe. The site has been home to horse-racing events for years.

Attorneys for the race-horse association said the commissioners did not look into the possibility of placing the grandstands on the National Registry of Historic Places. They also questioned the $1.7 million price tag for the demolition, which was recommended by consultant Cushing Terrell.

The county has not responded to the suit.

Last month, a consultant proposed three different proposals for redeveloping most of the facilities at MetraPark, costing between $60 million and $80 million.