With all the hype of a racino coming to South Ozone Park, residents have expressed concerns about safety at almost every community meeting.
In May, over 100 neighborhood residents attended Community Board 10’s monthly meeting to address the potential problems that the rush of visitors would bring the neighborhood.
They all asked Patrol Borough Queens South Assistant Chief James Secreto one question: how many police officers will be assigned to the area surrounding the soon-to-open Resorts World Casino in Ozone Park?
Even, Councilman Eric Ulrich requested more police presence at Aqueduct. He sent a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in June, stating that he believes “this request is warranted given the size and scope of the new venue and the necessary planning that will go into maintaining a good quality of life for area residents.”
At the time, Secreto assured the residents that he was working on the issue and trying to get more cops from the 106th Precinct around the racino. Last month, he told attendees of the 106th Precinct Community Council meeting that if One Police Plaza didn’t give him the additional police officers he has requested, he will provide them from the borough’s resources.
Not everyone is so sure that the area will receive a greater police presence before the racino opens. Howie Kamph, president of the Ozone Park Civic Association, told the Leader-Observer paper, “I hope they give it to us, but I think they’ll play the wait-and-see game.” He applauded Ulrich for making the effort to get more cops.
There is a projected 8.4 million people visiting the casino annually, there is set to be an average of 23,000 people who will be passing through the community
“One way or another we are going to have cops there,” Secreto said.
A hiring center was opened last month in an effort to hire more people from the neighborhood. The company is said to hire 1,150 employees.
Local residents have already started to take advantage, like Shatima Williams and Najah Abdulkhabir but others are concerned. The Jamaica branch of the NAACP is worried that the company will not hire enough residents from Southeast Queens, which was hit especially hard by the economic recession.
The center will be open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Four RWNY staff members will be on hand to help people with the application process. Potential employees can either drop off their resumes or fill out an application.
On top of promising jobs and good entertainment, RWNY is also promising good food.
According to YourNabe.com: “From Cantonese cuisine to Wolfgang Puck, the developer of the Aqueduct racino announced the numerous food options that will be available at the Ozone Park track.”
There will be two signature restaurants – Genting Palace, which will serve authentic fine-dining cuisine by veteran Hong Kong chefs, and RW Prime, which will feature prime steaks, fresh seafood and other fine gourmet offerings.
Both are said to have 200-person seating capacities. In addition to the signature restaurants, Resorts World is also offering an international buffet that will be able to seat 450 guests.
The Resorts World New York casino is opening its doors earlier than expected. Although the expected date is not yet determined, the opening is set for late summer.
According to the Queens Ledger, 2,500 video lottery terminals (VLTs) will be operational – rather than the 1,600 originally slated – when the casino opens.
According to the article, with the accelerated schedule – which will now take place in two phases, rather than three – not only will more VLTs be operational when the first stage launches, but the main entry, the international buffet and the parking garage will be part of the initial opening, as well.
So, what do you think? Excited about this development? Will you visit the casino? Or does the idea of a casino in a residential neighborhood sound like a bad idea?
Seems like Genting NY really means business. Recently the developer for the new Aqueduct Racino hired a MWBE (Minority or Women Owned Business Enterprise) – following up on the promise made last summer.
According to Resorts World, the firm’s general contractor, Tutor Perini, has MWBE subcontractor and supplier commitments totaling approximately 36 percent of the contracts awarded to date, in such specialties as electrical contracting, carpentry, security, and other services.
One such MWBE subcontract was awarded to Jamaica based company Cannady Security, Inc.
Avneet Bindra packs up for the day. As dark sets in at 5:30 p.m. on a windswept evening in early winter and vandalized trucks pull out of the Aqueduct racetrack parking lot, the 22-year-old upstart folds up the wares from his blanket business. He motions to his father, Rumpy Bindra, who has manned a separate blanket business in the market for 25 years, asks the older Bindra if he needs space on his truck. They are among last few vendors who have held out on this bitterly cold December day in Ozone Park.
Bindra has grown up in this flea market, learning the tricks of the trade from his father. The iconic flea market, which has operated out of the parking lot of Aqueduct in Southwestern Queens for 30 years, is a noisy and sprawling hub for 500 vendors, many of whom are Indian, Guyanese and Caribbean immigrants making their way up the economic ladder by hawking cheap bargains to other immigrants. Now Bindra, who is paying his way through college with this business, is bracing himself for December 31, when he has to uproot his shop…
Several racinos are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State to re-evaluate a casino compact made between former governor Paterson and an out-of-state Indian Tribe toward the end of his tenure in November.
The compact, agreed upon between Paterson and Wisconsin’s Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, involved a land settlement, which would enable the tribe to develop a casino with games and slot machines in the Catskills.
Racinos, including Resorts World New York, Saratoga Gaming& Raceway and Empire City/Yonkers Raceway, sent a letter yesterday to the Governor’s office, the NYS Department of Budget and Division of Lottery, calling for an immediate reevaluation of the agreement.
The state could lose $400 million in revenue, $200 million in state education dollars and roughly 1,000 jobs, endangering New York’s racing industry.
If built, the casino would also pay far less taxes on slots and table games, which are more attractive than video lottery terminals and are state-sponsored. Racinos pay taxes of 60-70 percent on video lottery revenues while Indian casinos pay 18-25 percent.
“The reduced tax structure provided not only immediately reduces state tax and education funding, but creates a structural competitive advantage that cannot be overcome because Indian casinos have the ability to offer free room, food and beverage because of the low tax rate … Racinos cannot and will not be ale to effectively compete,” the letter stated.