New York, NY —
Plans for a casino at the Aqueduct Race Track have been held up for years, but this week state senate leaders allowed a contract to move forward with a Buffalo-based firm. Betty Braton, head of the Ozone Park community board, says community members played a key role in the agreement and that forming a community advisory group was a crucial step in getting local support.
Braton: It's been imperative and they have known it and they have worked very hard to insure that there is a role for the local community in whatever the future here is going to be.
The firm Delaware North pledged to invest $370 million in the complex - but will also be eligible for up to a $250 million in state assistance. The refurbished Aqueduct would feature 4,500 video slot machines and multiple restaurants. It could eventually include a hotel and conference center. Organizers said the expanded facilities would provide 800 permanent jobs, only a small percentage of them minimum-wage.