Harness horseracing is officially coming back to Essex County.

The Lakeshore Horse Raceway association announced Wednesday four race dates have been approved for later this month and into October.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain says the decision is a result of dedicated teamwork.

“It's all of the people who were there giving us input, encouraging us," says Bain.

The races will run for four consecutive weekends, with the first one on Sept. 22 at the Leamington Fairgrounds. Organizers say community support is needed to prove the industry is viable in Essex County.

It’s a step in the right direction for Andrea Leon, who was forced to sell some of her horses last year because of where she saw the industry heading.  Now she's optimistic.

“I'm more than happy to be racing in my own back yard then go to other tracks,” says Leon. “It’s more convenient when at home.”

Initially the group asked for 10 race dates which would have allowed for provincial funding, but that was not approved.