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June 29, 2018

Scarborough Downs housing plan gets preliminary nod

The first phase of a proposed housing development at Scarborough Downs was granted preliminary approval by the Scarborough Planning Board.

The Forecaster reported the project will come before the board again for final approval, pending permits from the Department of Environmental Protection. Dan Bacon, a planning project manager, said Phase 1 includes 56 multi-family apartments, 24 condominiums, 24 duplexes, 30 single-family homes and a memory care facility. He

added that the focus of the project will likely change over time to line up with market forces.

In April, the board approved a master plan for the 500-acre Scarborough Downs property for a mixed-use community with housing, retail and green space. At that time, Bacon told The Forecaster that sections are being considered for commercial and industrial activity, additional mixed-use and residential development, and a shopping center and office campus. The harness racing track might be retained.

Crossroads Holdings LLC — consisting of two sets of brothers in Scarborough — William, Marc and Rocco Risbara III of Risbara Bros. and Peter and Richard Michaud, formerly of Michaud Distributors — bought the property for $6.7 million in a deal announced last December. The Scarborough Downs track will remain open and will continue to be operated by the Terry family, the sellers, as it has for 38 years. The 60-plus employees at Scarborough Downs will retain their jobs.

Betting on harness racing in Maine fell from about $70 million in 1999 to $26 million in 2016, mirroring the sport's decline nationwide.

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