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Hundreds turn out to voice concerns over casino proposal in Henrietta

Updated: 02/19/2014 11:44 PM
Created: 02/19/2014 11:28 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Crowds spilled outside of the Henrietta Town Hall Wednesday night as hundreds of people came out to voice their opinions about plans to build a casino.

This is a topic that wasn't originally on the agenda for Wednesday night’s town board meeting.

A group called the "No More Casinos Coalition" encouraged people to come out to the meeting. The group is trying to stop the Seneca Nation from building a casino in Monroe County.
 
According to Henrietta officials, the Seneca Nation has told the town they are looking to build in the commercial district between Jefferson Road, West Henrietta Road and I-390.

The "No More Casinos Coalition" called some homes Wednesday with a recorded message, encouraging them to come out and speak against the plan.
 
Here's a portion of that message:

“Recently, Supervisor Moore told us the Seneca Nation of Indians is purchasing property in Henrietta. They want to build a casino, and we want the town board to oppose that. If we the people don't speak up, we will wake up with a casino next door, and we can't stop it once it's built. We have to band together to get this done”

Not everyone is against a casino coming to Henrietta. News10NBC was at the meeting and spoke with people on both sides of the issue.     

This issue has created quite a stir in Henrietta. The crowd was so large Wednesday night that dozens of people had to stand outside. Inside there was standing room only.

To accommodate the crow the supervisor changed the order of the meeting, putting the public comment period first instead of in its usual spot at the end of the meeting.

“Casinos lure people in with free drinks and low-cost food. There is a lot of local businesses that would be hurt,” said one person opposed to the proposal.

While Town Supervisor Jack Moore says he still doesn't have any details of this proposal, he's heard  of where the Seneca Nation of Indians is interested in putting a casino. Wednesday night many residents told the board the location doesn't matter; there is nowhere a casino would be welcome in town.

“Take a look at Atlantic City. Anybody who’s ever been there, you take two blocks off of Atlantic City and it’s a slums, same thing with Niagara Falls. In Niagara Falls you don't have to even take one block off. You can look out their windows and see slum areas. We don't want that happening to Henrietta,” said another person who attended the meeting.

One woman brought a box of nearly 1,200 signatures she says are in opposition.

However, one man did ask the board to consider the casino fairly and objectively.

“What we have here is a population somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 people. There is a small group of 1,700 people who are against. There is also another small group that's in favor of it. I'm just the first person to speak. (It’s) not an easy thing to do when so many people are against it, but it's just my opinion,” he said.

This next man didn't make it in time to speak in the meeting.

“If you look at the pilot program like Verona has, if we had something like that here that would support EMT services and fire departments. I'm strongly in favor of that,” he said.

The Henrietta Town Attorney told the crowd Wednesday night that Henrietta cannot stop a casino if the state gives the Seneca Nation of Indians the green light.

A group asked the board to sign a resolution opposing the casino that it would forward to state leaders.

The supervisor told the crowd he doesn't personally support gambling, but it is his job to consider all sides before making decisions, and he says he has yet to hear the details of this casino proposal.
 



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