The owners of Laurel Park, who plan to build a transit-oriented development with retail and residential space near the racetrack, have requested the state Department of Transportation open a commuter train stop in Laurel closer to the track and the development, according to Laurel City Council President Ed Ricks.
Ricks said he and City Administrator Kristie Mills met with state Department of Transportation officials June 1, who told them that it is unlikely the state will consider a "dual stop" at both the Laurel MARC station and the racetrack. A train platform is already at the racetrack but the stop is listed as a flag stop on the MARC Camden line schedule.
"I don't want to see this happen," Ricks said. "I plan to fight for our train station."
Ricks said he has contacted Laurel's county and state elected officials, and even written a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, who is a frequent train rider.
The development, Laurel Park Station, is being proposed for land that is in Howard County. The new train stop would be 2,500 feet from the current Laurel platform, Ricks said.
Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, who works for the state Department of Transportation, has recused himself from the issue, Ricks said.
Mills called the Laurel train station "the anchor to the south end of Main Street," and said it would take more than elected officials to stop the move.
"This calls for a grassroots effort," she said.
Ricks will hold a press conference Wednesday, June 24 at 11 a.m. at the Laurel MARC station to announce the possibility of DOT relocating the station.