Talks continue regarding racino

By Mary Grzebieniak


Talks are continuing between Chicago-based Merit Management Group LP and American Harness Tracks LLC of Pittsburgh about locating a racetrack/casino in Lawrence County, said Lawrence County Commissioner Richard DeBlasio.

DeBlasio said at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting that New Castle native Joseph Canfora of Merit Management called him Monday night and “said they’re still talking.”

After the meeting, DeBlasio said that Canfora’s message was that Lawrence County is “still in play.” He said that he and Commissioners Dan Vogler and Steve Craig met with Charles Knoll Jr., head of American Harness Tracks, two weeks ago in Beaver County and characterized the message from that meeting as “things are progressing and moving forward.”

The multimillion- dollar project, originally developed by Indianapolis based Centaur as Valley View Downs to be located in Mahoning Township, was sold December 13 to Knoll in a Delaware bankruptcy court auction after Centaur declared bankruptcy. At that time, Centaur announced that Merit Management Group was entering a 45-day negotiation with American Harness Tracks to “work together to build the project in Lawrence County. The 45 days were up last week.

Also Tuesday, commissioners approved spending $62,637 in federal Help America Vote grant money to buy software and train employees to code electronic ballots instead of sending them to ES&S in Omaha, Neb. Ed Allison, director of Registration and Elections, said the savings will amount to $30,000 to $80,000 annually, depending on the type of elections held each year.

They also announced they will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Union High School Auditorium in their continuing effort have a meeting at every county high school.

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