Updated: 03/03/2014 7:11 PM
Created: 03/03/2014 12:50 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen
The Seneca Nation of Indians has taken a major step toward its plans to bring a casino to the town of Henrietta. The Senecas announced they have bought 32 acres of land near Interstate 390 for a potential casino site. I-Team 10 first showed you this location two weeks ago among a few that were being considered. (Read the original story)
The Seneca Gaming Corporation says it has no development plan in place as of yet, but says it would be ideally suited for a full-scale gaming destination complete with entertainment venues, hotel, restaurants and retail space.
Seneca Gaming believes it will create upward of 5,000 direct and indirect jobs and projects, an annual economic impact of $459 million dollars. Organized opposition to a casino in Henrietta has already formed with some raising concerns about the impact casino traffic would have on the area. Clay Road is currently the only access point to that parcel. Would a special off-ramp from i-390 be necessary? News10NBC asked the President of the Seneca Gaming Corporation what their plans are.
Cathy Walker, President of Seneca Gaming Corporation, said, "What we would initially do is have traffic studies commissioned by experts in this area. And to make sure whatever development that was designed for the parcel would be able to be supported by the infrastructure and roadway."
Kim Griffin said, "If nothing else, traffic is going to be a huge concern. On weekends now it's really busy and at Christmas time it's hard enough to get in and out of anyplace. I'm worried about the tax base.”
Jesse Noble said, “Who says they're going to give us the money to pay our taxes. There's no guarantee."
Roy Kubitz said, "I don't think it's going to be a help for the town at all. I think along the way it'll cause some loss of wages and the like."
Cathy Walker said, "We believe that with the collaboration and partnership with the community, we will be able to develop, using private investment, a facility that will be something that everyone will be proud of."
The purchase of this land does not guarantee that a casino will be built here in Henrietta. The Senecas only have authority to build three casinos in western New York, which they already have. To build a fourth would require a change to the compact with the state and the governor told me directly that he has had no conversations with the Senecas about changing the compact.