EDITORIAL: Stakes are high in casino discussion

Town of Bethlehem officials are keeping an eye on a proposed casino near the border with Albany, and they are encouraging residents to as well.

The large-scale E23 casino proposal near Exit 23 of the Thruway and off Route 9W has generated a lot of buzz in a short time, with stakeholders in Albany like Sheriff Craig Apple and Mayor Kathy Sheehan expressing support of the multi-million-dollar project. And even though the 63,000-square-foot casino and 275-room hotel complex – which could also include an indoor horse riding rink and a 40,000-square-foot indoor water park – would be completely located inside the city line, it’s close enough to Bethlehem that town officials rightly want to know the impacts the casino would have inside its borders.

The swiftness with which this project has become a household name only underscores the importance of making sure everyone has a chance to weigh in, and the town is opening the floor to Bethlehem residents at the Wednesday, April 9, Town Board meeting to gauge the prevailing sentiment. Quality-of-life issues, ranging from concerns about traffic and crime, seem to be high on the list of questions residents have, and it is important to bring these issues up when the town still has a say.

Thus far, the town has been gathering information about the project and passing it along to its citizens through a page on its website. Additionally, town officials have been in touch with their counterparts in Albany to let them know they will be asking that the traffic impacts, as well as what the quality of life and economic impact on Bethlehem, be considered in future discussions.

Those are reasonable requests given the proximity of the E23 casino proposal to the town. So far, Albany officials have been willing to listen to what Bethlehem has to say, and we can only hope that, if this project moves forward, the town will continue to have a seat at the table.

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