On May 8 the Maryland Board of Public Works board members voted to approve the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Equine Improvements project. The approval green lights the project with construction beginning later this month to upgrade the facilities and continue Fair Hill’s preparations to host its first international CCI5*-L event in 2020. A formal groundbreaking event is being planned around the 85th Fair Hill Races taking place May 24-25.
The improvement project addresses Fair Hill’s aged equestrian infrastructure and ensures the opportunity to sustain Fair Hill’s future as one of the premier equine sports venues in the world. It will also provide a stronger revenue model for the State of Maryland and Cecil County through major equestrian and recreational events.
“The approval by the Board of Public Works is a very big step toward sustaining the future of Fair Hill,” said Jay Griswold, Vice President of the Fair Hill Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to construction getting underway and advancing the plans for the 5-Star event next year. This is an exciting day for Maryland and all of our great partners who have been supporting this project from the beginning.”
In 2020, Fair Hill will become one of seven locations in the world hosting a five-star. The event is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic impact annually.
Upgrades for the venue include the construction of a new cross-country course, already in development under course designer Ian Stark. Three new arenas will be installed on the in-field of the turf course for dressage and show jumping use.
Fair Hill’s historic turf racecourse, built in the late 1920s and modeled after Aintree Racecourse in England, is also being restored. The course will be resurfaced, realigned and irrigated. Modifications will allow Fair Hill to host world-class turf racing and steeplechase racing.