The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

July 16, 2014

Racino continues to take shape for fall opening

AUSTINTOWN — The carpet is being rolled out, the video lottery terminals have mostly all arrived and a wooded landscape is set to provide the backdrop for a 21-day racing season beginning this fall at the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

“We are really in the homestretch now,” Mike Galle, general manager of the Austintown racino, said of the construction.

Mark Loewe, vice president of the Ohio racing operations with Penn National, said the racetrack is in the final stages.

Most important to the residents of the Mahoning Valley, however, are the jobs the racino off state Route 46 is bringing and the economic impact it will continue to have on the area.

“People of the Mahoning Valley are hard-working,” said Jim Davis, Austintown Township trustee. “We knew if we could showcase what we could do, we would get the job done. Come to the Valley and put us to work, and we will get the job done.”

The main building was open Monday to a tour by media and local leaders.

Since the onset of Penn National’s $250 million investment into the approximately 190-acre site, development in Austintown has increased. A Candlewood Suites is under construction, and several businesses have completed renovations including a $4 million investment into purchasing and updating Hotel California, formerly the Economy Inn and Suites on Route 46 by Interstate 80.

“We have seen interest pick up,” said Darren Crivelli, Austintown zoning inspector. “I think we will see more interest after the racino opens.”

Crivelli also said Hilton Hotels recently submitted zoning permits for property along Route 46.

The county commissioners approved a tax-increment finance district, or TIF, last September on 187 acres between state Routes 11 and 46. The casino and thoroughbred track are expected to increase property values, and 50 percent of that increase will go toward improving county infrastructure.

County Commissioner David Ditzler said those tax funds are expected to reach $6 million over the next 10 years.

In addition to the development surrounding the racino, there is the construction of the 100,000-square-foot main building, a one-mile thoroughbred racetrack, 13 horse barns, a ship-in barn, maintenance buildings; and a dormitory, testing and office building. There are now 200-300 construction workers on the site each day.

“I think  1/8the racino 3/8 will be very well received,” Ditzler said.

Ditzler said Penn National and Turner Construction Co. of Cleveland worked well with local employees from area unions.

The racino will hire a 400-member team with 90 percent of those positions filled by local workers and 65 percent of the positions full time.

“I think they will be in the top two of employers in the Valley,” Ditzler said.

Galle said about 60 percent of supervisors and 35 percent of hourly employees have been hired. The company had two job fairs in June with about 2,800 applicants.

The racino is expected to open in early fall with horse racing beginning Nov. 24.

Inside the main building there are approximately 1,000 enclosed track-view seats with large windows to see beyond the track with two levels of seating available. During the offseason, the lower level can be used as a banquet center.

The gaming area, for 21-and-over guests, is set with 850 video lottery terminals on a 25,000-square-foot gaming floor and capacity for up to 1,500 terminals. An additional 5,000 square feet is available to expand the gaming floor. Table games are not in consideration at this point, Galle said.

“We will look at that to see if we want to expand,” Galle said.

So far, there are 700 terminals in house that need to be mounted.

Dining options include the Skybox Sports Bar, Take 2 Grill, Ciao, Harlan’s Holiday, Trackside and Hollywood and Grind. Italian cuisine to an American style of cooking with burgers and grab-and-go shops will be available.

For entertainment, there will be a simulcast theater that features horse racing from around the country throughout the year.

A 250,000-gallon water tank supports the facility, and a backup generator is also on the property.

“It’s awesome -- what else can you say,” Davis said. “You can almost hear the people and see the hustle and bustle.”

Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Troubled childhoods may prompt men to volunteer for military service

    In the era of the all-volunteer U.S. military, men who served are more than twice as likely as those who never did to have been sexually abused as children and to have grown up around domestic violence and substance abuse, a new study has found.

    July 24, 2014

  • As poverty continues to rise, fewer Ohioans are receiving state aid

    The number of Ohioans receiving public assistance continues to drop even while poverty increases, raising questions about how the state helps the poor.

    July 24, 2014

  • ’Saltwater’ from fracking spill much different from ocean water

    In early July, a million gallons of salty drilling waste spilled from a pipeline onto a steep hillside in western North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation. The waste — a byproduct of oil and gas production — has now reached a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, which provides drinking water to the reservation.

    July 24, 2014

  • 40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 23, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

    July 23, 2014

  • GROUNDED U.S., other countries ban flights to and from Israel

    A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on all flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.

    July 23, 2014

  • REPORT: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

    July 22, 2014

  • Veteran's Ducks Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks

    An Army veteran who hurt his back during the Iraq War is worried a citation will result in him losing his 14 pet ducks, which he says are therapeutic.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stacked Apartment.jpg New York building shows how mod design stacks up as cool

    In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It’s billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation’s apartment capital.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scores dead in first major ground battle in Gaza

    The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting.

    July 21, 2014

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video