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Thompson wants two casinos; Liberty would like one

The board of the Village of Liberty and the Town of Liberty hold a joint meeting vote to support a casino project proposed for the site of the former Grossinger’s Hotel, being proposed by Foxwoods Resorts.
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
April 9, 2014

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Now that the New York State Gaming Commission (SGC) has sent out requests for applications (RFA) for one of the four casino licenses that will be available this year, local officials have begun to adopt positions on which projects they support.

In the Town of Thompson, Supervisor Bill Rieber announced that the town board, at its meeting on April 1, authorized the applications of three different projects: Monticello Raceway Management, Inc.; Cappelli Associates, LLC; and Trading Cove, LLC, to the SGC for permission to site Class III gaming facilities at their respective locations. This is the first step in the process, which requires the town’s approval in addition to the applicant’s payment of a non-refundable $1 million application fee to the commission.

Rieber included a statement that said, “The quest for approval of casinos will be a hard-fought process. The Town of Thompson is supporting the applications of all three developers. The town’s planners and attorneys have been meeting with all of the developers to assure that they will be able to submit a competitive application. It is our opinion that we are perfectly suited for two destination resort casino projects. Siting two casinos in the Town of Thompson is a win for the region and its economic survival and revitalization.”

But up the road 10 miles, the town and village of Liberty are also hoping for a casino. At a joint meeting of the board of the Village of Liberty and the Town of Liberty, the boards passed a resolution in support of the Foxwoods Catskill Resort Project at the site of the former Grossinger’s Hotel.

The resolutions are part of the application process required by SGC. The RFA explains that a resolution from the host community for a facility located in a village requires a resolution from both the village and the town.

But the resolution is only one measure of local support that the siting committee will use when considering the applications. The RFA says, “In weighing local support and opposition under this criteria, the board will consider public statements and declarations, letters or resolutions from the host municipality, nearby local governments, private organizations, community, religious and civic groups, charitable organizations, entertainment venues, chambers of commerce, local businesses, labor organizations, etc.”

The support of the community, however, will have 20% of the weight of the determination about which projects will receive licenses, the economic activity generated will count for 70% of the weight, and 10% of the weight will go to the enhancement of the local workforce.