The Chamber of Schenectady County is so supportive of a casino in Schenectady that it paid to promote the proposed project in giant red letters on a marquee.
Chuck Steiner, president of the chamber, said the message was displayed Monday in downtown Schenectady so casino hopefuls dropping off applications with the state Gaming Commission could see the love.
“We feel strongly about a casino here and felt the message was appropriate on the day that the applications were being delivered,” Steiner said. “The Gaming Commission’s offices are right down the street, so we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.”
The marquee is part of the former State Theater at the corner of State Street and Erie Boulevard. John Matarazzo, owner of the marquee, said the message would be displayed until next Monday.
The message reads: “NYS, pick the best site! Mohawk Harbor”
It took a couple tries to ultimately reach that phrase, Steiner said. He wanted something simple, positive and quick to read as people drive through the busy intersection.
“We had many different variations of the writing,” he said. “I always wonder why some people spend so much money and end up writing a book. We wanted to keep it short.”
The chamber passed a resolution of support for the casino project in April. The Galesi Group and Rush Street Gaming of Chicago are pursuing the project, called Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor.
The $300 million casino is being pitched for the former American Locomotive Co. site between Erie Boulevard and the Mohawk River, down the street from the marquee. The riverfront development will also include apartments, hotels and restaurants. The Galesi Group plans to move forward with its plans with or without a casino.
“As a community, we are calling on the state to pick the best site, and that is Mohawk Harbor,” Steiner said. “We are here to help promote Mohawk Harbor and development on the Alco site. We support a casino, and we want to show our support.”