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Monday, October 06, 2008

Community Sour on Favored Bid

- The local Queens Chronicle reported last week that the local community around Aqueduct has their own opinion about who should operate the franchise racino. Or, to be more precise, who should not do so.

Of the three, Delaware North is the least appealing to residents living around Aqueduct because it has been the least communicative about its plans, according to Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton.

Capital Play, she said, has been the most transparent and community friendly: it has met with board members, presented proposals and asked for community input. SL Green has also kept C.B. 10 abreast of developments, but to a lesser degree, Braton said.
While the community board has no say in the matter — it’s solely up to the governor — it made its unofficial stance known to state Sen. Serphin Maltese and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who have fought on behalf of the community to save Aqueduct.
The article refers to "rumors" that Delaware North is favored by the governor, but the proof is in the bottom line - the company's offer of an upfront payment of $370 million. I'm not surprised to read that Capital Play has made the effort to engage the community that they have; I recall that they made similar inroads to the backstretch community during their franchise bid. Nor am I particularly surprised that Delaware North has been aloof. They call themselves a "hospitality" company, but I guess hospitality doesn't work both ways. I was intrigued for a little while by Capital Play until they first got a little silly and then turned all McCain and ran attack ads against NYRA on TV. But could be that some of their ideas which I thought wouldn't have worked for running the franchise may be more suitable for a racino and its attendant entertainment.

Without knowing the details of the plans, nor the state of each bidder's financing, it's hard to say for sure which bid is the best. However, as much as I do like Paterson, I feel as if I'll be quite surprised if his decision involves any vision beyond the short term gain.

- Long piece by Paul Post in the Saratogian on the situation. And as reader jk pointed out, Charles Hayward, speaking of the VLT timeline, is quoted as saying: "At one point, late 2009 looked realistic. Now I'd say 15 to 18 months. That's just what I've been told by the bidders." If the $30 million is enough to keep NYRA going for 24 months, then, well, just do the math.

Tom Precious took the tidbit he reported about Skelos exhorting Paterson on Aqueduct, added the recycled background stories, and turned it into a freelance piece for Nice work there! One thing he does add is that Skelos also brought up Belmont.
In the meeting, he told Paterson the state could reap $350 million this year if it were to permit the awarding of a VLT contract for the track.
Based on the pace of the Aqueduct process, I rather doubt the state would reap anything for quite some time.


Anonymous said...

Has the $30 million that is part of the NYRA bk plan been transferred to them yet?

Alan Mann said...

>>Has the $30 million that is part of the NYRA bk plan been transferred to them yet?

That's my understanding, yes.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the previously scheduled 1st board meeting of the "New NYRA" is on for today?

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly I don't give a rat's ass about helping the "community." The only community that should get help is the backstretch community; new dorms, a better health plan, ESL classes and after-school care for the children of the backstretch workers.

When a childcare center for the children of the backstretch was in the planning years ago the "community" didn't want it off-track. They didn't want "those people" (early Joe the plumber types) driving and walking through their neighborhood.