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Rochester

Casino and Resort Proposed in Seneca County

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Rochester: Casino and Resort Proposed in Seneca County
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News like this spreads fast in places like Tyre, and at the Magee Country Diner.

Nearly all the talk was about plans for a new casino, just up the road.

"I see nothing but positive coming from it," said John Duffy.

"I think it'll be really good. A lot more traffic in the area. A lot more business for us," said Monjha Prater.

"I think it's absolutely fantastic. I think it's a godsend for the town of Tyre," said Duffy.

Mall owner Wilmorite wants to build the $350 million casino and resort off Route 414 in Tyre, right next to Thruway Exit 41.

"To me, as a business owner, I think it's going to be good for us," said Gary Schlegel.

Schlegel jokes that if state and local leaders approve the plan, he might have to make his diner bigger.

"I know they're talking numbers, coming off the Thruway. It's going to be many, many cars coming off there, and that's just gonna help the businesses around here."

"Generally I think most people are open to the idea," said developer Tom Wilmot.

Wilmot says he began looking for land two years ago when the state began talking about expanding casino gambling in New York.

Fifty-five percent of Seneca County voters said "yes" to a constitutional amendment state voters passed in November.

"We feel there's a real opportunity here, and as the rest of the northeast has opened up to gaming, I must say, I'm surprised New York has been as slow as it has in moving forward."

Wilmot rolled out his plan to a crowd of close to 200 at a meeting Wednesday evening in Seneca County. Those who were at the meeting on Wednesday say some neighbors are concerned about not only the wildlife in the area, but the quality of life.

Wilmot says he'll work with those who have concerns. He says the location, halfway between Rochester and Syracuse and so close to the Thruway, is prime.

"The day after the election, I came out in favor of a casino location here," said Bob Haysson.

Haysson chairs the Seneca County Board of Supervisors. He realizes several others
are also competing for a casino.

"If we're in a true competition, we should be the winner. But it's still up to the town of Tyre," Haysson said.

"We really need something to help boost our economy around here," Prater said.

Wilmot says it would take 1,200 construction workers to build the casino and 1,800 employees to operate it.

And as Schlegel sees it, there'll be a lot of hungry people to feed.

"I'll definitely benefit from it. I can't not."

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