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Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley racino wins state OK



Published: Thu, May 2, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.

RELATED: Penn plans to begin construction soon

By SUSAN TEBBEN

stebben@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

The Ohio Racing Commission on Wednesday gave Austintown and Mahoning Valley officials the answer they’d sought for months by approving the transfer of a racing license for the Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

“It’s a fair compromise and a win-win for all involved,” said Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs for Penn National Gaming.

The commission unanimously approved a resolution transferring the racing license from Beulah Park in Grove City to the Austintown racino, which will be located on 195 acres near Interstate 80 on state Route 46.

As one condition of the transfer, Penn National must submit a document showing intent of the company to finish both phase one and phase two of site plans, presented to the commission at its April 24 meeting, at the opening of the racetrack and casino.

The latest site plans include about 518 indoor seats with track views, an additional 242 indoor seats without direct track views and 650 outdoor bleacher seats.

Penn National must certify to the commission an opening seating capacity of more than 1,000 in view of live racing.

Officials from Penn National said the letter would be sent within the next few days.

The company has agreed to pay the state a $75 million relocation fee and a $50 million license fee for the Austintown project, plus pump another $125 million into construction of the facility. Penn National owns the 195-acre parcel, formerly zoned for a proposed industrial park, and has completed initial site work.

Penn National’s application can be reopened for review if the document is not submitted by June 15, according to the resolution. The racing commission also can review the application if the Ohio Lottery Commission does not approve the facility as a video-lottery terminal sales agent, the resolution states.

Up to 1,500 VLTs are planned for installation in the racino.

Local officials were on hand for the meeting and expressed their satisfaction at finally finishing one piece of the process.

“It’s been long; it’s been a rough road,” said state Rep. Robert Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th. “But the local people stuck to it, and now we’ll have the opportunity to bring jobs and … showcase our area.”

State Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, said “snags” such as the hold-up in the license transfer can happen in the process of big projects, but that the outcome could have been a lot worse.

“I’m grateful they [the ORC and Penn National] worked out the issues they had and worked out a compromise,” Schiavoni said.

A four to six-month delay has been avoided with the vote, according to Penn National officials, and the construction process can begin again, Schippers said.

“We’re still hopeful we can hit our original goal, but it will be nothing close to the four to six-month delay,” Schippers said.

Austintown Township Trustee Jim Davis and former Austintown zoning inspector Darren Crivelli attended every racing commission meeting since the debate began and were glad to see the process move forward.

“I’m elated,” Davis said. “I couldn’t be happier for Austintown Township and for what this means to the Mahoning Valley.”


Comments

1zz3(874 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Finally!! Someone actually ignored the ignorant citizen naysayers and fought for this much needed employer. Congrats Gerberry, Ditzler, and all involved in the fight to get this casino here.

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2ItAintEasy(15 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Finally, mo' jobs - Maybe now I can sell my house in Canfield!!!

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3walter_sobchak(1749 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

So, Buckwheat compliments the parties for getting the agreement worked out so we can bring jobs to the area...then introduces a bill in the House to ban all injection wells in Ohio! The man is a complete turd, like his brother Timmy in Cleveland.

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4Bigben(1996 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"...ban all injection wells in Ohio! " - -Sounds good.

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5zz3(874 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Bigben I agree these are just temp jobs after all is got their gone. But remember we'll be stuck with any problems due to fracking afterwards. Stick with the long distance jobs for sure and more will follow. This casino could be the break we need here to end the decades of poor gov't administration and years of just ignorant people complaining of the "EVILS" of gambling. All I have to say to that is go up on E LeClede at around 11pm and you'll see some actual evil. Itaiteasy is correct and hopefully our prop. values too will be going up and sales. GO CASINO.

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6busyman(239 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Racetrack, Casino, Covelli Center, Great Golf Courses a Downtown renewal. Now the buses will roll in and if hotels are smart you offer golf packages with night time entertainment. We in the Mahoning Valley can now get some of the tourist. The negators in the Valley do not want to see progress, because they are afraid that as long as you keep people away from this area they can live like trash and collect their entitlements and know one will see how low some of valley residents have sunk to exsist. This can be great for our children to find jobs and stay in the area. Prosperity will drive the takers away from this area because they will no longer get cheap housing in the city where they can spread their blight. How come the non frackers comment on every article in the paper? I guess when no one is listening to their bullcrap, they have to find a free media to vent.

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7Bigben(1996 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Comment 6 I am blown away by the utter intelligence you express in your comment. You are truly an intellectual of the highest standing. Your comment smacks of logic and reasonableness. I mean this will save the housing stock of the city- - -What a visionary you are . Prosperity will fall on Youngstown City guided by rainbows as blight and crime flee in the goodness of its shadows. Soft peaceful music will begin playing here and spread throughout the region. Life on earth as we know it will no longer be the same.

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8Bigben(1996 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"How come the non frackers comment on every article in the paper?" Again brilliant. You could have also said how come the frackers post on every article. That would have been brilliant also.

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9lumper(279 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

wkbn.com search donald prator canfield

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10zz3(874 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm not sure if the Casino will help Thugstown area much unless things change for the better there. And that is highly unlikely. What will happen is Austintown/Canfield/Lordstown will develop strip areas to serve people. I just do not think anyone will venture to Thugstown. For what?? Things will improve for jobs and our properties for a change. Good luck casino

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11Bigben(1996 comments)posted 11 months, 2 weeks ago

zz3
I here you on why would people travel to Ytown because a casino is built in Austintown. However, more strip development is not the answer to a healthy economy. We need jobs that people can raise families on not more needless development further out into rural areas ruining them and with crap jobs. We have those already all around.We need more substance.The addition to the hospital in Boardman is an example of the kind of jobs we need.

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12zz3(874 comments)posted 11 months ago

Bigben take a ride to Wheeling WVA sometime ask someone what they make and the benefits know someone who works there their not bad and you cannot forget the trickle down jobs!! Now ask someone how Wheeling was 25 yrs ago with just the race track compared to how it is now (case closed) no comparison I've been going there since late 70's. So don't try to figure it out just thank god for the jobs and our property values!! Ya hospital jobs are great...right. Wife works in that field with odrama care you'll be lucky they stay open,, worse than now

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