Montgomery County

One way to support Amsterdam casino: Throw parade

Residents in the city of Amsterdam have organized a parade in support of a proposed casino that woul

Residents in the city of Amsterdam have organized a parade in support of a proposed casino that would sit on land near Exit 27 of the Thruway.

While other casino developers in the state have taken out advertisement space or held news conferences touting their projects, the pro-casino event dubbed “Parade Destination 27” on July 1 at 5 p.m. will be the first of its kind.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said the idea for the parade originated from a number of residents who wanted to prove the amount of support that exists for the project.

“This is something that people in the community started,” he said. “This is truly a grass-roots community event.”

“People really wanted an outlet to show their enthusiasm and support for the project and that is encouraging,” he continued.

Organizers of the event are offering free admission to that night’s Amsterdam Mohawks baseball game to those who participate in the parade.

The parade will start in the Tecler School parking lot and end at Shuttleworth Park, which is about a 11⁄2-mile walk.

Parade organizers are encouraging people to bring their custom cars and motorcycles and urging small businesses to participate in the event.

The flier promoting the event says that video testimonials and pictures in support of the project will be posted on social media platforms.

The operator and developer of the proposed casino, Clairvest Group Inc. and Great Canadian Gaming Corp., had previously stated that they would not be able to move forward with their plans unless they were granted a number of concessions from the state Gaming Commision. Last week, they asked for a 60-day extension on the applicaiton deadline and a $25 million reduction in the casino licensing fee. The Gaming Commission denied both requests.

Earlier this week, Ossenfort confirmed that even without the concessions, the companies will move forward with their plans and submit an application on time.

Ossenfort said they are working on the application “as we speak” and will submit it before the deadline.

The proposed casino received the prerequisite support from local legislative bodies last week when the Amsterdam Common Council and Florida Town Board approved resolutions in favor the project.

According to the application guidelines, local support — aside from the prerequisite legislative support — will account for 20 percent of the siting board’s decision about where to place casinos in the state. To gain the 20 percent, developers must prove they are willing to work with local businesses in the area and “mitigate potential impacts” a casino could have on nearby municipalities.

Public comment sessions during Amsterdam Common Council and Florida Town Board meetings last week proved residents in the area are in favor of the project. Not one person who spoke denounced the proposal and almost all said they are looking for a casino to revitalize the local economy.

When asked how the parade will affect the proposal’s chances of receiving a gambling license, Ossenfort responded, “I really don’t think it can hurt.”

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