It’s been close to a year since three counties in upstate New York were selected by the New York State Gaming Location Board as sites for Las Vegas-style casinos, and the battle rages on for the $425 million Lago Resort & Casino proposal.
Supporters of the Lago Resort & Casino say the recent ruling by an appeals court to suspend construction at the site in the Finger Lakes town of Tyre in Seneca County was based on a procedural error that will be addressed by reestablishing the review. However, locals who oppose the project view the delay as an opportunity to request a broader review, this time funded by Lago’s competitors. Desiree Dawley, a member of Casino Free Tyre, a group fervently opposed to the siting of a casino in Tyre, said, “The process has to be redone, it is a New York state-mandated process that must be done properly. And now we have eyes on it.”
The resort and casino that is expected to lower property taxes considerably for Tyre and Seneca County residents, generate 3,400,000 annual visitors to the region, and employ approximately 1,800 construction workers from a majority of New York contractors is being enthusiastically backed by local officials and trade unions. While opponents, which include the local Amish community, say building a large development would not only ruin the rural small town’s character, it would have a significant adverse effect on the environment. A small victory was had by opponents last month when the board’s method of determining that the project would cause no significant adverse environmental impact was faulted, and the site plan voided by a state appeals court. The court ruled that the board failed to provide clear written documentation for its “negative declaration” in 2014.
Now, in a series of board meetings, the town is repeating last year’s environmental impact review process, and whether or not another negative declaration will be issued by board members could be determined by mid-September. The declaration would effectively void the need for preparation of a potentially complex environmental impact statement thereby enabling state licensure for Largo this fall.
Final licensure decisions from the state could also be made by the fall for the Albany-Saratoga area, and the Catskills and mid-Hudson Valley locations.