Bowie Race Track Property

Background

On January 4, 2020, local elected officials held a Community Meeting to discuss the future of the Bowie Race Track Property. A recording of that meeting is available on the City's YouTube Channel. 

Chapter 590 of the 2020 Laws of Maryland (Racing and Community Development Act of 2020) states that on or before December 31, 2023, the City is expected to become the record owner of the property known as the Bowie Race Course Training Center (the “Bowie Racetrack Property”), which includes approximately 180.84 acres consisting of all of the land located at 8311 Race Track Road, 8406 Race Track Road, 8408 Race Track Road, 8410 Race Track Road (view a map of these parcels).

According to Chapter 590, the portion of the property transferred to the City that is within 100 feet of the top of the Patuxent River bank must be used for passive recreational activities, including hiking, wildlife viewing, picnicking, and walking, and the remaining portion of the property may be used only for active recreational activities--including baseball, football, soccer, and cricket--and have only one structure that is up to 50,000 square feet constructed on the property. Furthermore, by January 1, 2021, the City must enter into a joint use agreement, which includes an easement, with Bowie State University for the future use of the property. The City and Bowie State University must report to the General Assembly on the final terms of the joint use agreement.  Until the required conveyance, the owner of the Bowie Race Course Training Center must operate the center as a thoroughbred training facility to provide more stall space for the racing industry in Maryland.

City Council directed staff to work with the Council and representatives of Bowie State University to obtain a mutually acceptable Joint Use Agreement for future uses on the property, as set forth in Senate Bill 987 and Chapter 590. On December 7, 2020, City Council approved the Joint Use Agreement

Bowie Race Track Property Task Force 

This proposal was discussed at the March 7, 2022, Regular Council Meeting (view recording, meeting minutes, and staff report to Council). As a result, City Council directed staff to convene representatives from Bowie State University and City staff, as well as two members of the City Council, as an ad-hoc steering committee with the goal of establishing a communication mechanism and designing a public input process leading to the adoption of a recreational land use concept for the Bowie Race Track Property. The ad-hoc group met multiple times, and a recommendation was made to form a City task force. On May 16, 2022, City Council approved Resolution R-20-22 establishing the Bowie Race Track Property Task Force.

Per Amended Resolution R-20-22, the Race Track Property Task Force consists of 23 members, including two City Councilmembers, two representatives from Bowie State University, and one representative from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission serving on the Executive Steering Committee. The Task Force also includes three subcommittees:

  1. Bowie Community Engagement Subcommittee - Representatives from up to three homeowners/community associations in the vicinity of the property, as well as representatives from up to three city-wide community groups or individuals who are active members of their communities.

  2. City Committees Subcommittee – A total of six representatives from the Community Recreation Committee, Environmental Advisory Committee and Green Team Executive Committee.

  3. Bowie State University Subcommittee – A total of six representatives consisting of BSU students, faculty and/or staff, as appointed by the president of the university. 

The Task Force charge includes the following:

  • Review the results of the environmental investigation of the site. 
  • Develop a list of desired uses and their associated space needs by each entity. 
  • Develop a concept plan for the activation of the Bowie Race Track property, including programmatic elements, timeline for improvements and cost of improvements. As part of the concept plan, develop a prioritized list of desired uses and their associated space needs. 
  • Determine methodology for renewed community engagement efforts and serve as the central forum for community engagement and public input into the process. 

The City Council required that a final report be submitted by the Task Force by no later than July 1, 2023.  The first meeting of the Bowie Race Track Property Task Force is scheduled for September 29, 2022 (view agenda).