Saratoga Springs seeking input on racino proposal

Saturday, May 31, 2014
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— City officials are convening a special meeting Wednesday to gather public comment about the 134,000-square-foot expansion proposed for the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Mayor Joanne Yepsen and the City Council have scheduled the meeting for 7 p.m in the City Council chambers. Input given at the meeting will be compiled by the city and forwarded to the state Gaming Commission, which is overseeing the approval process.

The racino’s proposal would first build a 108-room hotel, a 137-seat steakhouse, a 28-seat coffee shop, a pool, a spa and a fitness center off an area northwest of Vapor Night Club. The project’s second phase would construct a 2,000-seat event center and a 180-seat meeting room. The operators of the racino have indicated they will need the additional amenities to continue drawing gamers to the video lottery terminals once a casino with live table games opens elsewhere in the Capital Region. They estimate racino revenue could drop by as much as 40 percent, meaning the facility could ultimately shed roughly a third of its workforce without the hotel.

But opponents of the project argue the expansion isn’t consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and could negatively impact the downtown business district –especially if the proposed event center draws business away from the Saratoga Springs City Center Authority.

The commission has purview over the project because it will impact a state-operated lottery facility.

The Gaming Commission declared itself lead agency in the project on May 14, giving the city 30 calandar days to challenge the designation.

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