Montgomery County officials are voicing their support for casino development, as New York gears up to hear proposals.
On Tuesday evening, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Planning Committee unanimously voted to move a measure in favor of casino development to the full board.
District 7 legislator Barbara Wheeler sponsored the measure.
“All of the municipalities would have to get behind it, and I think it would be an advantage to the entire county to be supportive, and it would be an advantage to both Fulton and Montgomery to get behind it because it would benefit all of us as a whole,” said Wheeler.
According to the Gloversville Leader-Herald, Montgomery County Business Development Center CEO Ken Rose has requested that lawmakers in Amsterdam and the town of Florida consider supporting a possible casino project proposal located off Route 30, still in development.
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort also expressed his support for a casino that could bring economic prospects to a region that approved the statewide ballot measure in November.
About 56 percent of voters in both Montgomery and Fulton counties voted “yes.”
Ossenfort said that since he’s taken office in January, he’s been working to build a relationship with Fulton County. The counties recently approved a joint new solid waste plan, and are also considering collaborating on a regional business park. He said a casino would help promote the region as a whole.
“That’s just a natural fit for us, because we’re really partnering on a whole host of economic development initiatives, and the casino gaming would certainly be included in those discussions,” said Ossenfort.
Lately, much of the casino development conversation in the Capital Region has focused on Saratoga County. Supporters and opponents have taken firm positions on an expansion project at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen addressed division over casino development within the Spa City at her State of the City address in late January.
“But being this divisive and disingenuous will get us know where. And I implore all of you to talk to each other tonight in different colored shirts and find common ground, and think about how we can maximize the precious little input that we do have.”
Leaders in Moreau are also considering a repurposing of the Mount McGregor prison facility to house a casino.
It was revealed in recent weeks that Albany’s First Prize Center, located off I-90, was also being considered by developers Capital Gaming, LLC for a possible casino project. Voters in Albany and Saratoga Counties voted against November’s ballot measure, however.
Ossenfort said that the Montgomery County area could provide a good, nearby alternative.
“I think what the governor was trying to do…was really to put a shot in the arm in some of these local communities that could really need it, and I think Montgomery County is a perfect example of that,” said Ossenfort. “We’re just a half hour away from Albany, just a half-hour away from Saratoga and we’re a lot closer than people think.”
The Fulton County Board of supervisors is set to vote on a measure supporting casino development later this month.