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Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s 75th Racing Season begins this Weekend
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Happy birthday to one of the best-looking and healthiest 75-year-olds we know!
Friday, March 4 will mark the beginning of Saratoga Raceway’s 75th anniversary season of live harness racing. The first post for Friday is set for 6:45 p.m. In honor of the 75th anniversary, 75-cent deals on hot dogs, sodas and programs will be featured on Friday and Saturday of opening weekend. Those two days will also feature $75 mutuel voucher giveaways after each race to patrons who submit an entry form found in their racing program. Sunday, March 6 will feature a commemorative t-shirt giveaway for fans. Guests will receive a coupon in each racing program, which can be redeemed for a free “75th Year of Racing” shirt.
In 75 years, this historic half-mile oval has accumulated a lot of highlights. Here are some of the brightest:
On June 26, 1941, the first night of live racing, 4,048 patrons attended the first race program at what was then called Saratoga Harness. Historically, Saratoga Harness is now the third oldest harness track – and the first ever specifically constructed for that purpose - in pari-mutuel harness racing. ‘Lucile Glow,’ a three-year old trotting filly, won the first ever race at the track with a time of 2:12.1. Since then, the harness track has featured almost 11,000 racing programs that have created a tremendous amount of historic moments with racing fans spanning generations.
As Saratoga Harness grew and prospered, so did the sport of harness racing. In 1941, Saratoga Harness conducted 26 racing programs, with racing fans wagering an average of $27,050 on each program. Each year, the attendance and handle continued to grow as the popularity of harness racing increased. With the exception of 1943, when racing was cancelled because of World War II, racing at Saratoga Harness experienced unparalleled growth. Total handle grew from $9.5 million in 1950 to $17.2 million in 1960 to an even more impressive $45.7 million in 1970. The number of racing programs soared from 90 in 1950 to triple digits in 1960 and close to 200 in 1970.
The quality of racing also improved mightily, as Saratoga Harness attracted the top standardbreds in the country with the arrival of Grand Circuit racing. Darn Safe became the first trotter to break the two minute mile mark on a half-mile track in 1957 with a 1:59.4 mile, and Laverne Hanover became the first two-year-old to better the (then) magic two minute mark with a sparkling 1:59.4 effort, as Saratoga Harness began to earn its moniker as “the world’s fastest half mile track”.
The great Nevele Pride graced the Spa oval on September 6, 1969, and trotted a mile in 1:56.4, at the time the fastest mile in history on a half-mile track. Hall of Famer Stanley Dancer was in the sulky that afternoon, and that mark would stand up until 1988, when Mack Lobell won a Breeders Crown event at Saratoga Harness in 1:56 for John Campbell.
It is estimated that Saratoga Raceway has welcomed over 24 million guests over the course of their 75 racing years, and throughout that span of racing, total on-track handle has exceeded $1.5 billion.
Simulcast of the Saratoga Harness signal also continues to increase in popularity, reaching an all-time record of $36 million wagered worldwide in 2015. Over 300 venues across the world will carry the simulcast signal in 2016.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the past 75 years of racing,” said Director of Racing Operations, John Matarazzo. “It’s an incredible milestone for us, and we look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that has been the track’s hallmark from the beginning.”
A highlight of the upcoming race season will be the eighth annual Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Pace, which will feature one dash for a $260,000 purse on July 23. The Gerrity Memorial Pace always attracts the best pacers in the Northeast. Last year’s pace was won by ‘PH Supercam,’ who finished in an impressive 1:50.1. Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s 2016 racing season will offer $14 million in purses, and their spring schedule will consist of live racing Fridays and Saturdays at 6:45 p.m., Sunday matinees at 12:45 p.m. and a 4 p.m. twilight post for the Thursday cards.
In keeping with another long-standing tradition, parking and admission on all race days are free.
For a full racing schedule and additional information, visit www.saratogacasino.com or call 800-727-2990.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Casino and Raceway officially broke ground May 27 on its $34 million hotel expansion during a ceremony with local and state officials including Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chair Matt Veitch and Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen.
"This is a transformational project," said Dan Gerrity, President of Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "This hotel will give guests something they've been long requesting, and will allow us to remain a competitive economic driver in the region for years to come."
The project is estimated to generate more than $5.4 million in statewide economic output and $1.75 million in state and local tax revenues. The yearlong construction process will create an estimated 400-500 temporary union construction jobs. Upon opening in 2016, an additional 200-300 good paying career path jobs with benefits will be created. Currently, Saratoga Casino and Raceway employs 400 full time and 200 part time employees in the Capital Region.
The 123,000 square foot expansion will add a 4-star quality hotel to the existing facility. Amenities in the 108-room hotel will include an indoor pool and fitness center, lobby bar, meeting rooms and signature fine dining restaurant.
SARATOGA SPRINGS —For the entire 2015 harness racing season, “The Foal Project” gallery show is on display at Fortunes, Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s trackside restaurant. This nationally renowned gallery focuses on the intimate moments of connection between a mare and her foal.
Originating in 2010, “The Foal Project” was started by photographer Lisa Miller with the goal to raise awareness and funding for equine assisted therapies. Miller’s work has been recognized on ESPN.com and has been featured across the country in venues including the prestigious Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, KY and the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Aiken, SC.
All of the pieces are numbered, signed and printed on large metal. Guests will be able to purchase these signed, numbered and limited edition prints, with 100 percent of the sale proceeds going to the Foal Project Donor Advised Fund, which is used to fill grant requests made by qualified 501(c)3 equine assisted therapy centers.
“The opportunity for ‘The Foal Project’ to be featured in Fortunes is truly an honor,” said Lisa Miller. “It’s very exciting to create more awareness for the project within the Saratoga community, and Fortunes is the ideal venue to accomplish that.”
For reservations at Fortunes, call (518) 581-5790. For more information on “The Foal Project,” visit FoalProject.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Bataan Death March of verbiage, pontification and blather about all things relating to the city’s status regarding the proposed Saratoga Casino and Raceway (SCR) expansion was taken to a new level of intensity this week.
We were first treated to a marathon City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 3, in which the mayor’s agenda item about the expansion did not get entertained until nearly 10 p.m. (note that the meeting started at 7 p.m.; note further that the mayor’s agenda is the first of five departments to report, followed by the county supervisors).
This meeting ended about 11:20 p.m., but after the item about SCR’s expansion I had had enough for one evening, thanks. Three plus hours is enough. Mind you, this was a discussion item. Nothing was actually decided.
A “special” public hearing on the next night (Wednesday) followed this — this one solely devoted to the expansion issues. I hoped that everyone got their comments in, for everyone should feel they had their say I guess.
But, at the risk of being characterized as “un-interested” or “un-involved” I admit I gave this one a pass altogether. I also cover arts and entertainment, and there was a great new jazz ensemble making its debut (look for a feature on them before their next appearance in a few weeks) on the same night.
Blast me if you want, but I think I made the right call. Good music wins out over hot air. Tell me, what would you do?
Now, we hear that there “might” be another “special” city council meeting, this time after Saratoga TODAY goes to press: it is tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 6 at 10 a.m. Unbelievable.
Perhaps something might actually be decided at this one. But from now on, your city council reporter will value both your time and my own. We will report on something that actually happens.
The crux of the issue, for those whose eyes are not totally glazed over at this point, is whether the city should assert itself as an involved agency in the review process, known as SEQRA, as opposed to “interested,” which in theory would give them the further right to vie for the lead agency status on this project, instead of the Gaming Commission and therefore greater oversight over what happens.
This would be triggered by filling out a form, stating that the city objects to the gaming commission being the lead agency. However, if this course is pursued, it is likely to generate a costly legal battle, which the city’s attorneys say they have no shot of winning.
So there you are. I have summarized nearly 600 hours of debate in two paragraphs. Yes, I might be glossing over some fine points, but who cares. The mayor believes that an ongoing dialogue with both SCR and the gaming commission can gain more than a legal fight. Time will tell if that is the right way to go.
None of the above should be construed as wanting to restrict anyone’s right to comment. The public comment period to the Gaming Commission extends until June 13 and I certainly encourage everyone who wants to express their opinion to do so.
Just don’t make me listen anymore, OK?
The successful fight against a full-scale casino siting in Saratoga Springs was the first of two equally important battles we need to win in order to protect our community’s long-term interests and preserve the character of our wonderful city. The second battle is against the proposed Saratoga Casino and Raceway (SCR) expansion that we have a very short window of time to contest. If the expansion plans go through without local oversight, not only would it hurt the city now, SCR could apply for a full casino license in seven years, using the existence of the expanded site to help them in their efforts.
The $30 million expansion includes a five-story, 108-room hotel and 2,000-seat event center, nearly doubling the size of the current site. The city should have local oversight authority regarding the expansion, but the City Council has decided not to fight, via legal avenues, the Gaming Commission’s stated intent to become lead agency in the SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) process. The City’s March 4th Resolution protested the lack of “home rule” and the “threat to the vitality of our city’s downtown,” which are also pertinent issues for this second battle. So, why isn’t the City Council fighting for local control by whatever means possible, legal, legislative and civil?
The City Center Authority, which oversees the operation of the City Center and reports to the City Council, submitted a resolution to the City Council against SCR expansion, because the plans would have a profoundly negative impact on our downtown business corridor. Although the City Center runs a very strong convention business, they also provide public events that draw thousands of people into the city who and eat and shop at our local establishments.
In the first quarter of the year, which is very slow for downtown businesses, these public events draw over 34,000 people who spend more than $3,000,000.
SCR is looking to create public events for their event center that will be in direct competition with the City Center’s public events. Skip Carlson of SCR’s stated intention is to have the public “come to our property and stay longer”, at SCR; downtown businesses will be “devastated” as a result. If there is significantly less traffic, businesses will be at risk of closing, consequently hurting the City Center’s ability to attract conventions to our unique downtown, starting a downward economic spiral.
The Planning Board normally oversees the SEQRA Review process locally; however, the State Gaming Commission has claimed power with regards to SCR. Recently, the Gaming Commission said the Prop 1 State Law (about full-scale casinos) only covers the gaming floor, but the rest of the development has to go through local Planning and Zoning boards for review. Since both laws (Prop 1 and the VLT law) have the same exact language, and SCR’s expansion plan does not include the gaming floor, why is the Gaming Commission now saying SCR’s building plans are not subject to local oversight?
We need the City Council and Planning Boards to vigorously fight for local oversight and challenge the Gaming Commission’s position, so we can control our city’s destiny.
There are many issues to review and gather public input about the impact of this expansion on our city, including waste production, large truck traffic traveling down Union and Nelson Avenues past residences, noise and light pollution, the character of our community (quality of life and heritage and cultural tourism issues), the tall hotel possibly being seen from the flat track, and the potential impact on SPAC, UPH and our vibrant downtown business core that our community has carefully developed over the decades. The planned site is also within our city’s protected Greenbelt and contrary to our Comprehensive Plan.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - In a statement released late Thursday, May 15 Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen announced that her office will not challenge the State Gaming Commission regarding it's status as lead agency for SEQRA review of Saratoga Casino and Raceway's expansion.
The Mayor's statement reads as follows:
STATEMENT FROM MAYOR JOANNE YEPSEN ON NYS GAMING COMMISSION ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING SARATOGA CASINO AND RACEWAY PROPOSED EXPANSION
“Today, we received a letter from the New York State Gaming Commission indicating that the Commission, with the New York State Office of General Services acting as sponsor, will seek “Lead Agency” in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process in relation to the proposed expansion of Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
After careful consideration and a thorough legal consultation, the majority of the City Council of Saratoga Springs believes that it would not be prudent to initiate a challenge to the Commission for “Lead Agency” status. Based on the state law that governs the existing operation, and after looking at the 2006 decision where the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied the city’s efforts to be named “Lead Agency”, we feel that it would be irresponsible to invest a significant amount of taxpayer dollars in additional legal actions that are extremely unlikely to produce a better outcome for the City of Saratoga Springs.
As Mayor, my utmost priority remains the horse racing industry – harness and thoroughbred, and I continue to take great pride in having an excellent working relationship with Saratoga Casino and Raceway. As result of that on-going relationship, they have brought this project before the City Council and the City Planning Board for public discussion, even though they were not required to do so. Over the next thirty days, we look forward to listening to our citizens’ thoughts on this project, and we will be relaying public comments to the New York State Gaming Commission and Saratoga Casino and Raceway on behalf of the city. We remain committed to working productively with all parties to produce an outcome that is mutually beneficial and that works together with the economic and cultural vision our citizens have for our city.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs will partner with Churchill Downs Inc. to compete for a license to build and operate a $300 million casino and resort in East Greenbush.
The owners of the Saratoga slot machine parlor and harness track have teamed up with the company that operates the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown, to gain an edge as New York officials determine which entities will win the right to build and operate casinos in upstate.
The two racing organizations expect the proposed $300 million casino project to create 1,700 construction jobs and 1,700 permanent jobs.
The state will approve up to four casino licenses this fall in three upstate regions, including the Albany and Saratoga area. Casino developments have been announced, or are under consideration, in several Capital Region cities and towns including Albany, Amsterdam, Cobleskill, East Greenbush, Rensselaer and Schenectady.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A public hearing on final revisions to the St. John Neumann senior housing development plan and zoning map amendment proposed by the Bonacio Corporation preceded the Saratoga Springs City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 6. Those who spoke at the hearing were generally favorable to the project, with one resident voicing some concerns about possible traffic problems with children in the neighborhood. Among those who spoke in favor of the project was Father Paul Borowski of St. Clements RC Church, the current owner of the Neumann property.
Essentially, the council’s final concerns revolved around the structure of the language regarding the amount of land in the parcel that would be reserved for buffering, and the residential density of the project. The applicant’s attorney, Michael J. Toohey, proposed that a restriction be added to the deed which would reserve just over two acres of buffer area in the 11-acre parcel from future development except for park, trails and related ‘passive’ development and that this portion be removed from density calculations. This would cap the number of residential units for all time at 92 (the current Bonacio plan calls for 85) and that number would be fixed for any potential future deed-holders.
With these conditions satisfied, the council, which was favorable to the project from the beginning, passed the two resolutions unanimously, clearing the way for the new senior housing development.
During the public comment period, an issue was raised by several members of the “Trackside Neighborhood Association” about the designation of one-way streets in the area around Lincoln and Frank Sullivan Place during the summer racing season. The residents said that they had not been adequately notified. Resident Mary Farrell said that this would impose a financial hardship upon her due to the loss of parking revenue on her lawn during the race meet.
Commissioner of Public Safety Christian Mathiesen responded that he believed the notice was adequate, that this would be reviewed after the race meet and modified if necessary and that he was open to discussing the issue with residents.
Officials from the Saratoga Casino and Raceway (SCR) –
Skip Carlson, vice president of external affairs along with Tony Stellato, civil engineer with CHA Engineering and Brian Davis, director of design and development – made a presentation about their proposed hotel/event venue expansion. Prior to the presentation, Mayor Joanne Yepsen, noting that SCR’s revision of their application had downgraded the city’s status from an “involved” agency to “interested” – due to the fact that SCR will not require an additional water and sewer hookup for their proposed new facilities.
This is more than nuance. The change in designation means a further restriction on the city’s official ability to review SCR’s plans; currently the State Gaming Commission is the lead agency for reviewing this proposal. The mayor noted though, “The city has every intention to have a seat at the table.” She went further and took note of many city resident’s advocacy that the city file an article 78 motion to place itself as lead agency, although City Attorney Mark Schachner ventured his opinion at the microphone that the city had attempted to do this when SCR expanded last in 2006, and lost that effort to be named lead agency.
Mr. Schachner’s analysis of the current law is that it would make it more difficult for the city to win an Article 78 motion than in 2006, and that it would be costly for the city. Rather, he urged that there be the type of cooperative spirit that he observed from SCR in coming to the council to present it’s plans.
In fact, SCR is intending to go further in referencing city agencies than it is currently required to do legally. They have pledged to appear at the city planning board twice to present its plans. Their first planning board presentation will be on Wednesday, May 14.
Saratoga Springs City Center President Mark Baker, who advocated that the city do all it can from a “legal, legislative and civil” standpoint to oppose SCR’s expansion, also delivered the City Center’s annual report for 2013. Mr. Baker noted that the facility had maintained its high plateau that it established after its expansion in 2011. Overall, the City Center enjoyed a remarkable 80 percent occupancy, generating an unaudited $1.9 million in sales tax revenue for the city.
Highlights of the Project:
The 890,000 square foot Hudson Valley Casino and Resort will feature world-class gaming, dining and entertainment options, including:
•A 500-room resort style hotel;
•A full complement of exciting dining options, including fine dining, casual dining and buffet;
•Multiple entertainment venues, with a night club, sports bar and showroom;
•20,000 square feet of high end retail; and
•Convenient parking, with valet, plentiful covered parking and surface lots.
Located at the Crossroads of I-84 and I-87, Hudson Valley Casino and Resort Will Serve as Economic Catalyst for Entire Region and a Jobs Juggernaut for both the Town and City Newburgh, as Well as Communities on Both Sides of the River
NEWBURGH – Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which has gaming and casino interests in three states, announced on Thursday, April 24 that it will propose a world-class destination resort casino on a 70 acre site on Route 17K in Newburgh, across from Orange County Choppers and just minutes from Stewart Airport. The company has submitted a $1 million mandatory application fee to the state, solidifying its intent to make a bid for a commercial casino license to be awarded in the Catskill/Mid-Hudson region.
The estimated $670 million development will be a permanent economic engine for the region, creating approximately 2,400 construction and more than 2,500 permanent, good-paying jobs with benefits. Many of these jobs are expected to be filled through a dedicated hiring program with local residents, and participation in MWBE partnerships and veteran hiring programs, targeting chronically underemployed communities in the region. In addition to thousands of jobs the project will directly create through construction and operation of the resort and casino, the project is expected to have a significant economic development and jobs impact throughout the Hudson Valley, on both sides of the river, due in large part to its geographic location.
Offering seamless access from both I-84 and the New York State Thruway, the casino and resort will keep New York gaming dollars within the state, serving as a destination for residents from around the region. The project will include a 500-room resort hotel, dining, entertainment venues, and 20,000 square feet dedicated to high-end retail. This full-scale entertainment facility is designed to reinvigorate the Hudson Valley by complementing, not competing with, a potential casino and resort in the Catskills.
As part of its business and branding plan, the Hudson Valley Casino and Resort will incorporate iconic elements of the region into the project and will work with local restaurants, farmers, craft brewers and distilleries to feature their local wines, spirits and produce throughout the facility. Just minutes away from area attractions like the Walkway Over the Hudson, West Point, the Culinary Institute of America, historic Hyde Park, Dia Beacon, and the region’s many hiking and biking opportunities, the project will act as a growth engine for the area’s growing tourism industry and revitalize the local economy on both sides of the Hudson River.
"The Hudson Valley Casino and Resort is designed to showcase the best that the Hudson Valley has to offer and serve as a economic development catalyst that will help create jobs from Newburgh to Poughkeepsie, Beacon to Middletown, and beyond,” said Rita Cox, Senior Vice President of Marketing and External Affairs at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "There is no other project being proposed that has the kind of robust transportation infrastructure in place like this one does, nor will have as dramatic an impact on existing unemployment like our project here in Newburgh will.”
“This project is good for Newburgh, good for Orange County, and good for the entire Hudson Valley region,” said Town of Newburgh Acting Supervisor Gil Piaquadio. “Not only will it provide annual revenue to the Town of Newburgh of $6.85 million per year, but it will spur local economic growth and ancillary jobs that do business with the casino. The Town of Newburgh won’t be the only beneficiary, however. With easy access to I-84 and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, the Hudson Valley Casino and Resort will have a dramatic impact on economic development and jobs in our neighboring communities like the Cities of Newburgh, Middletown, Beacon, and Poughkeepsie.”
Steven M. Neuhaus, County Executive of Orange County, said, “My economic development team and I have met with representatives from Saratoga Casino and Raceway, along with several other applicants with an interest in casino development in Orange County, and they are serious economic development partners. Saratoga Casino and Raceway has a national reputation for gaming and I was pleased to learn more about their development plan for our county.”
Led by a locally-based team of trusted owners with a proven track record and decades of gaming experience in three states, including Colorado, Kentucky, and New York, the Hudson Valley Casino and Resort will generate $51 million annually for the Hudson Valley/Catskills Region. The Town of Newburgh and Orange County will each receive $6.85 million per year. The revenue generated for both Newburgh and Orange County will help keep property taxes down and support area schools and vital local and county infrastructure and services.
“The Orange County Partnership is working with several casino proposals. There are unique aspects to each project. The Saratoga Casino and Raceway Project has selected a great location in the Town of Newburgh with minimal impact to residents, said Maureen Halahan, President and CEO, Orange County Partnership. “This 70 acre site is highly visible and is positioned in an area of the county that has historically struggled with unemployment and poverty issues. The benefits to the Newburgh School District are substantial. Saratoga has a stellar team of professionals that they are working with and it is evident by their progress and how well their initial renderings fits perfectly in the site’s topography. Furthermore, Saratoga has the financial wherewithal and proven track record of success in the gaming industry.”
- $300 Million E. Greenbush Casino Bid
- Planned $30 Million Local Expansion Submitted To State
"When one door closes another door opens…”
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Never has the above expression been truer for Saratoga Casino and Raceway (SCR) than this week.
In a dramatic announcement on Tuesday, April 22 that could prove to have extensive regional economic implications, SCR revealed plans for a $300 million world-class destination resort casino in the Thompson Hill area in the Town of East Greenbush. The Rensselaer County site has strategic proximity to Albany, the entire Capital Region and, via access to nearby interstate highways, the entire Northeast.
At the same time, plans are proceeding with a local $30 million expansion on the SCR grounds. This plan had been originally announced on May 28, 2013 and had been billed as part of SCR’s necessary strategic development plans, regardless of the results of the outcome of an expanded gaming scenario on its grounds. These plans are proceeding at it’s own pace through the appropriate government agencies.
Further, there are strong indications that SCR will file another application for a casino site in the Catskill Region, specifically around Newburgh and Route 17K. These plans were scheduled to be presented after press time to the Newburgh Town Board at a special meeting 7 p.m. Thursday at the Town of Newburgh courthouse. Readers are advised to look for an update at saratogatodayonline.com
But meanwhile, there is plenty that is known on the two pending projects that have been announced:
$30 Million Expansion in Saratoga Springs
A comprehensive site plan, complete with environmental impact statements and supporting documents has been filed with the New York State Gaming Commission. Locals who are interested in reviewing these documents can find a copy in the Planning office in Saratoga Springs City Hall.
The notable highlights of this expansion plan includes:
- A 120-room hotel with guest spa, indoor pool and lobby bar
- A 24,000 square foot multi-purpose event center
- A signature fine dining restaurant.
According to the summary provided by SCR officials “The expansion plans include the creation of 260 additional jobs at the facility, and an additional $9 million in annual payroll expenses, bringing the total number of employees to 900 and yearly payroll expenses to $27 million.”
“From the beginning, we have worked closely with our local leaders to drive increased tourism to our community and are excited to be able to use these plans to bring more focus to Saratoga as an international resort destination,” said Rita Cox, Senior Vice President of Marketing. “With these plans, we will be expanding our marketing efforts to attract visitors from areas outside the Capital District and throughout the entire Northeastern Region.”
Ultimately, approval of this project, or portions of it, rests with the state. The City of Saratoga Springs has been designated as an “involved agency,” in that they will need to provide extra water and sewer hookups and other services. So they can be described as having a “seat at the table,” if not ultimate decision-making authority. SCR had previously stated its intentions to have its plans reviewed by city land-use boards although they are not required to do so.
Next Steps: At some future point (expected to be soon) the Gaming Commission will start the clock on a 30-day “review period” in which the City Council, and through them, presumably other concerned parties may be heard. Mayor Joanne Yepsen has stated that she might call a special council meeting on this subject alone should the timing warrant it.
There have been concerns expressed by downtown Saratoga Springs entities and other interests, including the Saratoga Springs City Center and Saratoga Performing Arts Center about the scope of the project in general and the multi-purpose event center particularly.
According to SCR officials, given timely approvals the construction timeline anticipates work beginning in spring 2014 and the opening of the expansion project in spring 2015.
$300 Million Facility in East Greenbush
The bullet-point highlights of this project:
- 100,000 square foot overall destination resort casino development
- 300-room hotel
- 20,000 square feet of high-end retail
- Multiple entertainment venues including a nightclub, sports bar and showroom
- An estimated 1,700 construction jobs and an estimated 1,700 permanent jobs at the facility.
This does not even begin to include the spillover effects, ancillary businesses, hotels and enterprises throughout the adjacent area. If you need a visual, search out a picture of Kissimmee, Florida before and after Disney World arrived and you’ll get a general idea.
Next Steps: Many. The application-filing deadline is here. The review process begins, with an expectation that siting decisions will occur this fall.
SCR bills their E. Greenbush casino proposal as a “game changer,” and if it comes to pass, there can be no doubt that it would be, on several levels. Of course, it is one of a few possible proposals in the Capital/Saratoga Region for a casino and only one will eventually be sited – at this time. This is also true in the Catskills area, which may be a more crowded application field.
"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
- Alexander Graham Bell
On second thought, never has this expression been less true for Saratoga Gaming and Raceway than on this week.