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Upstate NY Mayor Begs for A Hard Rock Casino

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Mayor Daniel Dwyer

City of Rensselaer Mayor Daniel Dwyer has made a strong case for a new casino in or near his town. In a letter dated December 29th, the mayor congratulates Governor Cuomo for acting quickly on the State Gaming Commissions call for applications, and then immediately asks the process to be stopped and reviewed in light of his city’s superior application.

Dwyer sites his own site as being accessible to the residents of Albany and Troy as well as his own city, and posits that the board in charge of siting new casinos is made up of people who are not from upstate, and do not “understand the respective communities.” With a board includes Long Island Association President Kevin Law, former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz, former gubernatorial aide Paul Francis, and Westchester County attorney Dennis Glazer, “it is of little wonder that the choice for the Southern Tier project is actually located in the Finger Lakes,” Dwyer writes.

Dwyer asserts that his Hard Rock Casino proposal has stronger roots and will bear more fruit than the accepted proposals. Economically, the Hard Rock project has the greatest revenue potential at $80 million more than the Rivers Casino, with additionally more than $40 million a year than Schenectady for New York State and local school districts. Dwyer also sites support from a great number of residents in and around Runsselaer, as well as support from eleven counties and the cities of Troy and Albany.

A Times Union report stated that an environmental review on the Schenectady site was done in 2010.  Since then, however, the 60 acre proposal has ballooned into the Mohawk Harbor project, which will include a 50-boat slip and dock, the casino, a 250-room hotel, and a 203,800 square foot movie and television studio. Dwyer sites these new plans, which were not presented to the board, as an impossible feat to have open within the two years required by the siting board. The Hard Rock proposal can have open doors in one year.

Dwyer goes on to not just woo Cuomo’s reopening of the facility location board’s consideration, but to request the “NYS Gaming Commission immediately release the “scorecard” used to measure each application to the criteria set forth under the Statute.”

Dwyer ends his praise of his own application by stating that the Albany-Rensselaer Train Station is the 9th busiest train station in the country, serving more than 750,000 people each year, and that the Hard Rock Casino location would be supportive of that station.

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