Baldwinsville The Onondaga County Legislature met on Nov. 1 in their regular session for the month. A memorializing resolution for the proposed racino and hotel for the convention center was the hot topic on the agenda.
This resolution did not authorize gambling in Onondaga County, but still caused a signification amount of discussion. This specific resolution gave the developer the ability to apply to the State of New York for a license to operate a racino. In the event the developer receives the license, future legislatures would have to approve the proposed location by the airport. Future legislatures would also have to approve the operation of Video Lottery Terminals at the racino. In turn, Onondaga County would have a hotel built by this developer next to the convention center downtown.
Many of you know that we continue to subsidize the OnCenter approximately $2.4 million each year because we are unable to draw big conventions that want a hotel next to the convention center for convenience. Other upstate New York cities have a hotel right next to their convention centers and are continually drawing business away from Syracuse. This resolution was sent to the Planning and Economic Development Committee for further discussion. To allow the public a chance to be heard, a public hearing on this proposal has been set for 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the legislature.
I know that people that are against the racino will be there in force. I have received many phone calls and emails from people opposed to this project. Many of these phone calls and emails are from outside of Onondaga County, and even outside of the country. I also find it interesting that the group making phone calls and placing ads in the media is financially backed by the Turning Stone Casino. My hope is that both sides of this issue are discussed at the public hearing. However, usually the people that support an idea or issue do not attend public hearings to voice the potential pluses for projects. I urge you, the residents, to send in letters of opposition or support to the legislature and ask they be included in the minutes of the public hearing. This is too important of an issue to let an organization outside of Onondaga County try and control the outcome.