Mayor Palmieri is keeping an eye on the future; especially as there’s talk of a riverboat casino coming to Utica. Governor Cuomo announced plans earlier this year, pushing for 3 casinos in upstate New York to generate tourism. Mayor Palmieri is urging the Governor to consider Utica. He says the Utica Harbor would be an ideal location for a casino.
The Mayor has written letters to the Governor, State assembly, and Senate, urging them to consider Harbor Point in North Utica as a potential site for a riverboat casino. He says it’s centrally located, utilizes water-ways, and will benefit multiple regions.
“The harbor and the casino can be reached by car, by bus, by boat, or by train,” says Mayor Robert Palmieri, (D) city of Utica.
The Mayor says the Utica Harbor is centrally located and the riverboat could use waterways to share the casino with neighboring cities.
“Benefits not only one region but multiple regions which I think is exactly what the Governor is trying to accomplish,” says Mayor Palmieri.
“Mayor has a sense of priority for the community and if this is one of his initiatives, I think we’re willing to help him position Utica to atleast put a compelling case on the table there,” says Stephen DiMeo, President of Mohawk Valley EDGE.
Whether or not the riverboat casino becomes a reality, the President of Mohawk Valley EDGE says there are many features that make Utica Harbor a marketable location.
“This is just one part of the equation and its something that he raised as what he sees as an opportunity and let’s see where it goes,” says DiMeo.
And if the city plays its cards right, the riverboat casino could end up right here. Area residents and they have mixed feelings.
“It’d be good for the economy, good for jobs. Those that do go, travel to Vernon now, I think it would keep some of the business here,” says Kimberly Fulmer, Oneida County resident.
“It would help the area for jobs and bringing business but wouldn’t be for a casino with one 30 miles away,” says Todd Ferri, Oneida County resident.
Our region is already home to 2 casinos, Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel and Turning Stone Resort Casino. Eyewitness News spoke with the owner at Vernon Downs Casino and he’s not happy with the Mayor’s proposal.
“It would put Vernon out of business. I don’t think it would put Turning Stone out of business but it would certainly hurt them. From a standpoint on jobs, you’d be basically creating jobs in Utica and eliminating jobs in Turning Stone and Vernon,” says Jeff Gural, owner of Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel.
Again, we want to make it clear that the amendment allowing casinos in New York must be approved again by the state legislature. And then, voters must approve it in a referendum.