East Greenbush residents divided on proposed casino

EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. – The East Greenbush Town Board unanimously voted Thursday to support a plan to build a casino within the town, but the casino does not have the unanimous support of town residents.

Hundreds of residents gathered at East Greenbush Town Hall Thursday as the town board prepared to vote on a casino resolution for the town. Opinions were mixed amongst the crowd. Some were excited about the idea of new jobs, and others hoped the town could benefit from the large tax revenue. But others were completely opposed to the town’s plan to support a casino.

Guy Warner has been an East Greenbush resident for nine years. He said the economic prospect of a casino won’t come to fruition.

“Will there be jobs? Yes,” he said. “Will they all be going to East Greenbush residents? Probably not.”

Warner also thinks a casino will drive small businesses out of the town. But town board members and Supervisor Keith Langley felt otherwise.

“It will be a great economic boost for our economy,” Langley said.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway partnered with Churchill Downs and plans to build a near $300 million casino on Thompson Hill Road.

“What a horrible decision,” resident Dwight Jenkins declared.

Jenkins lives on Thompson Hill Road. He doesn’t think balancing the town’s checkbook by hurting his standard of living is worth it.

“It’s only because these idiots in here screwed it up for so many years that we’re in the boat that we even need a casino,” he said.

Some residents have signed off on a lawsuit to challenge Thursday’s vote.

Rita Cox is the senior vice president of marketing for the casino developers. She believes residents want a casino.

“The support that we’ve been hearing in the community has been really strong,” she said.

Especially with the prospect of millions of dollars that would funnel into the host community.

“We’re coming in with private investment to build a facility that’s going to generate millions of dollars for the community and schools,” she said.

The next step is for the developer to put in a bid to the site selection committee by June 30, and then wait to see if East Greenbush is chosen for a casino site.

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