Bethlehem residents largely opposed to ‘E23’ casino plans

Some worry traffic, safety a concern; say town would reap few benefits

An artist’s rendering shows the siting of the proposed casino.

An artist’s rendering shows the siting of the proposed casino. Flaum Management

— Town residents were mostly opposed to the plan to build a casino at the town’s border with Albany.

The Bethlehem Town Board sought the opinion of residents on Wednesday, April 9, on the proposal to build a casino just off of Thruway Exit 23. The facility would technically be in the City of Albany, but would border Glenmont.

“We want to make sure Bethlehem’s interests are represented in this process, and that any effects, which are sure to come, are compensated in any plans that are put forth,” said Supervisor John Clarkson.

The proposed casino would be built on 60 acres of land off Noonan Lane in Albany. The plans call for a 63,000 square-foot gaming floor, a 275-room hotel, a 40,000 square-foot water park, restaurants, an indoor horse riding facility and trails.

Planning Director Rob Leslie said the proposed casino would be about half the size of Turning Stone in Verona.

The project is being developed by Flaum Management, LLC, and the Capital District Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation. According to the developers, the project is expected to bring 1,800 permanent jobs and 1,500 construction jobs. It will also provide an annual hosting fee of $11.5 million to be split between the city and county, an estimated $5 million in property taxes for the city, $2 million for scholarships and social programs and provide funds to the county through sales and hotel taxes.

Many of the people at the meeting were weary of the project, saying it would cause the town hardships without reaping any of the advantages that would be seen by the city.

Leslie said there could be potential impacts to traffic and strain on the police force. However, the casino could drive economic development to move to Route 9W, and there could be a positive financial impact for Albany County taxes.

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