After first opening 110 years ago, Rockingham Park is preparing to close permanently. Located in Salem, the horse racing venue was a staple in the community for years, with live horse racing taking place until 2010 and then the area being considered for the very first casino of New Hampshire. The park has now been up for sale ever since lawmakers of the state decided to deny efforts yet again to expand gambling.
A deal to sell the property was announced back in May with a local developer set to complete the purchase. The closure of the park will impact the local nonprofits as revenues were provided to local charities, with more than $2 million raised last year by Gaming at The Rock which was handed out to 35 local charitable groups.
Rockingham Park was used by local charities and nonprofit groups based on laws of the state to raise money. New Hampshire law gives the charities 10 days to offer Texas Hold’em Poker or other gambling options. One such nonprofit that will be affected by the closure is Greater Salem Caregivers. This group was created in 1989 and uses funds to provide transportation to the elderly and disabled to doctor’s appointments. This group offer driving services to pick up prescriptions, go shopping for groceries, etc. Without the funds from The Rock, the group will be impacted.
According to NHPR’s Morning Edition, the group has a budget of $100,000 a year of which $50,000 comes from The Rock. Speaking with Dick O’Shaughnessy, the Greater Salem Caregivers Executive Director, gave insight as to how local nonprofits will be impacted.
Ed Callahan, the President and General Manager of the park, stated that the property is currently under agreement with a new owner. The facility is still filled with photos, equipment, harnesses, vehicles, furniture, gaming tables and the like. The venue plans on selling such items in an auction that will take place later on this month. On the 24th and 25th of September, the auction will take place with catalogues offered as well as online listings after Labor Day for individuals to begin buying items from the site.