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Resort expands resources



Published: Sat, April 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Mountaineer is growing into a multi-faceted and family-oriented resort.

By JOHN KOVACH

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

CHESTER, W.Va. -- The Mountaineer Racetrack & amp; Gaming Resort is expanding to become a full-fledged, family-oriented resort offering something for everyone -- and sports, physical fitness and recreation have become big parts of this growth.

"We are making it a destination resort that people can come to and do just about anything they want to do," said Ted Arneault, who since 1995 has served as president and chief executive officer of the multi-faceted Mountaineer complex that is owned by a public company, MTR Gaming Group.

Arneault said the hotel, which is attached to the Speakeasy Gaming Saloon, is adding 160 rooms, increasing from 100, representing a $25 million expansion.

"As part of the new hotel, we are completing a large indoor bath house, indoor pool, jacuzzi and children's pool. It will look a lot like a 1920s bathhouse," said Arneault. "We are [also] looking at putting in an arcade."

Fitness center: Arneault said the fitness center has "tread mills, lift machines, bikes, stair-steppers and a full set of weights. We are going to put in some racquetball courts ... an outdoor swimming pool and family area by the pool. We have Jacuzzis, wet and dry sauna and full shower facilities."

Overall, Mountaineer has three swimming pools.

Arneault also noted that Mountaineer is for golfers: "We own an 18-hole golf course about 7 miles away," he said, referring to Woodview Golf Course.

For the spectators, Arneault described a variety of entertainment, including sports, at the Harvey E. Arneault Theatre and Event Center (named after his late father), which seats 5,100 people.

And, of course, there is the traditional staple of horse racing at Mountaineer Racetrack Fridays through Tuesdays.

Boxing fixture: Arneault said professional boxing is popular at the "Harv," the nickname for the Event Center; and that the ring sport is becoming a fixture there.

"The big boxing match coming up -- it's a big-time show on Showtime [national television], probably one of the best fights in the world right now," said Arneault of nine-bout program April 13.

The main event is a 12-round battle for the NABF heavyweight title between defending champion Fres Oquendo (22-0, 13 knockouts) of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and David Tua (39-3, 34 KOs) of Western Samoa.

"We've had 40 televised fights in the last five years with every major channel involved. We've always been in big-time boxing," said Arneault. "This will be the biggest fight of them all. It's a leap forward and ties in with the rest of the developments at Mountaineer."

Arneault said other sports events also are being planned at the "Harv," including youth wrestling and 3-on-3 basketball tournaments this spring, and weightlifting -- all more in line with family-oriented programming.

He said the "Harv" also has had been host to knife, gun and antique shows, in addition to big-time entertainment.

Among the stars who have appeared are Tony Bennett, Paul Anka, The Temptations and Julio Iglesias. Arneault said that Kenny Rogers and Engelbert Humperdinck are scheduled to appear at the end of the month.

For visitors who want or need transportation, "We have buses from Youngstown," said Arneault.

For more information about Mountaineer, call 1-800-804-0468.

kovach@vindy.com




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