Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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September 14th, 2012

Concord Project Keeps Moving Along

It is great news for Sullivan County that Empire Properties Trust and Empire Resorts are hard at work putting the final touches to the environmental’s needed for their proposed project at the former Concord.

It is equally good news to hear developers say the massive facility will be built whether or not legalized casino gaming is approved.

Without a doubt Empire Properties has the funds to complete the project, and Empire Resorts has operated our racino at Monticello Raceway since its inception.

The project being designed as a four season destination compound will eventually house Monticello Raceway, its video gaming hall, a hotel, convention center, waterpark, ice skating rink, shopping mall, restaurants, movie theatres, world class golfing, an RV Park, world renowned entertainment, residential communities, and practically everything else including the kitchen sink.

The simple fact is that Sullivan County can no longer bank on legalized casino gaming and neither should the developers of the Concord.

The huge documents presented at a recent public hearing along with the political grandstanding should not impress any of us. We have been through these Environmental Impact Statements before with every proposed Indian Casino. We should instead be impressed by the developers.

Empire Properties are well respected developers of movie theatres, shopping malls, entertainment complexes, and charter schools. Empire Properties obtained the land because Louis Cappelli defaulted on payments.

Empire Resorts is a far different company today than it was a few short years ago. Its major shareholder Genting is one of the largest gaming and resort companies in the world.

Next year at this time, we can expect the airwaves to be flooded with advertisements asking us to vote for a referendum to approve legalized casino gaming. We can also expect to be bombarded with propaganda telling us not to legalize it.

Ultimately, we can anticipate approval. The exact location for gaming halls remains uncertain. If legalized, we can expect ever major casino developer to jump on the bandwagon. Expensive media campaigns are just beginning.

If you have been watching television during the past several days, you will notice commercials telling us how Racinos are funding our schools. Nine racinos have contributed $3.4 billion to education since 2004. Thanks to Aqueduct and Yonkers, New York is raking in more revenue than Atlantic City and Connecticut gaming halls.

Racino operators want all the legalized casino action, but hold your horses. Other casino gaming developers are already scouting Sullivan County.

Josh Muss of Muss Development, the owners of a chunk of the former Grossinger’s, has been meeting with Sullivan County officials touting a secret casino partner.

Developer David Flaum, who has been trying unsuccessfully for years to enter into the casino market, is talking about opening a hotel and convention center at his Shawanga property.

The Stockbridge Munsee’s and other tribes are still talking casinos. And, noting can prevent them from applying for licenses if legalization becomes a reality. The Stockbridge Munsee’s already have completed Environmental Impact Statements.

I hope who ever does get to operate a casino does so with the condition that they sign a minimum $15 million impact fee with Sullivan County like the Indian tribes did, and not instead seek tax abatements.

In the meantime, thank you Empire Properties Trust and Empire Resorts for moving forward with your project.

1 comment to Concord Project Keeps Moving Along

  • Barbara Fischer

    We own peace Love and Ice Cream in rock Hill and would love to open a branch at the new Concord Resort. Please let us know if you are interested. Thank You Barbara and les Fischer