Events Center Belongs West of Casino; Still Time for Two-Project Solution

By Tony Farina

While Mayor Robert Restaino narrowly won re-election with a 3.5 to 1 vote advantage, he still appears committed publicly to building his events center arena on 10 acres of land the city will have to purchase from NFR on John Daly Blvd. if the city wins the eminent domain legal battle still ongoing which is being paid for by taxpayers for sure.

Despite the legal fight over seizing the NFR land, we should note that Restaino nonetheless has issued an RFP for a feasibility study to decide where the arena should be built even after winning round one of the eminent domain fight for the John Daly Blvd. property. A head scratcher for sure no matter how you look at it.

The Centennial Park project proposal includes a climbing wall in addition to the events center


Many experts believe Restaino’s unfunded events center should be built west of the casino where it could benefit the tourist and business districts, fueling the argument that a two-project solution is the best way to go with NFR using its John Daly Blvd. property for its privately funded $1.5 billion data and technology center, creating a huge economic boost for the city and bringing in high-tech jobs for years to come.

The two projects were at the center of the mayoral elections which as I stated was a very narrow win for Restaino, suggesting there are many folks who believe in both projects and who would like to see more discussion going forward about a two-project solution that would potentially be of great benefit to the city.

And an events center west of the casino could save the city perhaps in excess of $70 million when factoring in cost for the NFR parcel, and the city’s legal costs and savings in not having to build parking ramps.

With a lack of public funding, especially at a time when New York State is facing a severe multi-billion deficit, where will the mayor find the money to build something nobody is sure will be able to compete with other entertainment centers.

An events center, if built, would be best west of the casino, leveraging traffic from the arena to nearby tourist establishments, hotels, and restaurants where people congregate, in the tourist center, not miles away on John Daly Blvd., a distant site too far away to help.

A data center adding jobs for years to come and an events center in the tourist district would be the best possible solution for years to come.  Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and the mayor, newly elected lawmakers, and NFR can find time to get something done before it is too late.  The city can’t afford to miss any more opportunities.




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