Abandoned Phoenix Horse Trotting Park demolished in Goodyear

Dozens of people gathered early this morning to surround the outskirts of a building that's been abandoned for decades.

"I hate to see it go," David Hampton said. "It's been there so long."

It shows years of decay and is a structure that's just sitting and waiting.

"I've heard all kinds of things, that it was haunted and this and that," Hank Verdugo said.

Rumors and whispers aside, it's become a staple in the community.

"It's part of me now, it's like another arm," Gregory Frank Christiansen said.

Christiansen has lived in Goodyear for the past 13 years.

"To be honest with you, I never though it'd live to see this day, but it's actually happening," he said.

What once was the Phoenix Horse Trotting Park will now be demolished. It's a place that many have driven by on Interstate 10 without knowing anything about it.

"Really, I don't know much except it was built back in the 60s," Hampton said.

A time that 88-year-old Dave Baldwin remembers very well.

"The freeway wasn't done and we come down country roads," he said.

On opening day, January 12, 1965, the track drew a crowd of 12,000 people. A crowd that Dave saw dwindle as the months went on.

"Maybe 250 to 300 people, it wasn't a good crowd, no," he said. "I come probably a half a dozen times. Not a good crowd, hard to get to."

It's remote location may have been what led to its downfall less than a year later. The track was closed and since, it's fallen victim to trespassers and vandals.

"If they'd been able to keep it up, that would be nice, but right now I think it's an eyesore," Maggie McLean said.

An eyesore, or a landmark, but no matter the opinion, people came together to watch it begin or disappear.

"Seeing that first chuck of thing go down, I was really sad to see that," Christina Cisneros said.

The future of the property is up in the air, but the past will soon be gone.

The demolition itself is expected to take about two days, but the cleanup process is expected to take months.