Montgomery County

Amsterdam City Council backs casino push

Amsterdam’s city government will be sending state officials words of support for building a Las Vega

Amsterdam’s city government will be sending state officials words of support for building a Las Vegas-style casino in Montgomery County.

The Common Council this week approved a resolution extolling the potential economic benefits of having one of the state’s new casinos nearby.

State voters last year approved a referendum calling for the development of seven non-Indian, live-table casinos in the state, and Montgomery County economic developers recently identified roughly 520 acres of land in the town of Florida on the edge of the city’s South Side as an ideal location.

Currently used for crops, the site near Exit 27 off the Thruway is on the market for $5.25 million, according to county officials.

The town of Florida properties being considered are owned by two people and have been on the market for several years, officials have said.

Montgomery County’s Legislature has already passed a resolution in support of the initiative.

Amsterdam First Ward Alderman Eddie Russo said construction jobs during building and positions for residents in a new casino would be a welcome addition to the local economy.

Russo said it’s his understanding that Fulton County’s former Tryon Residential Center, the former youth prison, is another site being eyed in addition to sites in Rensselaer and Saratoga counties.

He said he believes Montgomery County’s site, not far from the state’s primary highway, makes it a prime contender.

“I think we’ve got the best location, right off the Thruway,” Russo said.

The city would also stand to gain revenue by selling water and sewer services. The nearest similar infrastructure is miles to the west.

The Common Council’s resolution calls for copies to be sent to state Sen. Cecelia Tkaczyk and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Russo said he’s hoping the city can also add support from U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, an Amsterdam native, as part of its pitch to officials seeking the right spot.

“Hopefully we’ll get them behind us,” Russo said.

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