November 17, 2010
Copyright © 2010
Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc.
Tribe to sign casino compact with state
MONTICELLO – Governor David Paterson and other government officials are expected in Monticello early next week to sign a compact with the Stockbridge Munsee Indians to operate a gaming casino in the Town of Thompson. The tribe owns over 330 acres of land off Route 17 exit 107 in Bridgeville.
The governor will sign a land claim agreement with leaders of the tribe spelling out details of a pact with New York.
That doesn’t seal the deal, though. It will still need federal approval to allow an off-reservation casino to operate and there has been no policy change since the former Secretary of the Interior under the Bush administration, Dirk Kempthorne, nixed those plans. Public officials, including US Senator Charles Schumer, have been lobbying current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to change the policy; however, there has been no movement to this point.
Thompson Town Supervisor Anthony Cellini, who has seen potential Native America casino deals come and go, is enthused about this development.
“I think we’re rounding third base and we just have to get it to home plate right now,” he said.
State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said a full scale casino would keep local dollars in the region.
“We are surrounded by New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and we want to keep our New York State dollars, and it will be great for entertainment, it will be great for a convention business and it will increase tourism, which is so important to Sullivan County.”
State Senator John Bonacic said the project would be ideal for Sullivan County.
“This is the best way for job creation, private sector money, we don’t need any stimulus money to increase tourism and job creation if we do get the Stockbridge casino,” he said. Bonacic also said he would ask Schumer to use “all of his influence to push this project.”
“This is real hope for getting a casino in the Catskills in the near future – something that we’ve been working towards for decades,” said Schumer. “There has long been widespread community support for gaming in the Catskills, and – because it would be a big boost to the local economy, job growth and tourism – that continues to be the case. That is why I have worked so hard to make it a reality, and I will do everything I can to see this process through to the end.”
Development of a gaming casino in Sullivan County would mean thousands of construction jobs and thousands of positions once it is in operation.
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