HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) More details on Ellis Park’s plans for expansion to Owensboro, and upgrades in Henderson are coming out of the gate.
The extension, which will be built at Towne Square Mall, and upgrades happen as Ellis prepares for millions of dollars in improvements in Henderson. It also happens as Ellis gets ready for its 100th year.
“It’s a growing area. It’s segmented. It’s about 45 minutes away from here and from Evansville. It has very good demographics,” says G.M. Jeff Inman, when asked why the planned Ellis Entertainment extension will be built in Owensboro. It plans to have up to 700 historic racing. or HHR, machines, a restaurant and parimutuel betting area in Owensboro. It’s expected to cost at least $17 million to build. He declined to say where exactly where in the mall area it will go, but they decided to expand east after the pandemic ate into money available for their original nearly $60 million dollar expansion plans at their Henderson facility.
“For us, with the reduced amount of money we had, we felt it was the best use of our dollars to drive revenue, and revenue drives purses, and purses help Ellis Park succeed,” he explained.
Inman says ellis entertainment owensboro will add another 6 to 8 million dollars to their purses, which he says can lead to a better on track product.
“Purses equal better horses, and better horses equal more wagers and more wagers equal more products,” says Inman.
“They can reinvest those as they continue to rehabilitate Ellis Park and improve it and expand it, so it’s another revenue source to fund the ongoing operations at Ellis Park,” adds Henderson Co. Judge Executive Brad Schneider.
Plans also call for more than $14 million in renovations, including widening the track by 20 feet , adding lighting for future night races, and grandstand upgrades.
“This grandstand area needs a lot of care, and a lot of upkeep and a lot of improvements. We feel like we need to improve the curb appeal of our property. The front facing areas need to be reworked, the signs need to be redone, the parking lot need to be fixed,” Inman explained.
Inman also says they still want to expand their clubhouse in Henderson, but for now they want to focus on the racing improvements at the track.
Inman adds they’ve already started some upgrades and that will last through 2023. Work on Ellis Entertainment Owensboro could start as soon as next year and be done by the first part of 2023.
(This story was originally published on October 27, 2021)