Your Nov. 25 editorial "Promises to keep" criticizes Penn National Gaming for seeking to move Raceway Park to the Youngstown area once the new Toledo casino opens early next year.
I shared my concern with Penn National Gaming when I was a member of the Ohio State Racing Commission. At that time, Raceway Park and the other tracks in Ohio were not sure whether they would be getting video lottery terminals.
A few months after John Kasich became governor, an executive order allowed electronic slot machines at all horse tracks in Ohio, to bring in much-needed tax revenue.
You stated that at a Toledo City Council meeting before the casino referendum vote, an official from Penn National said there were no plans to close Raceway Park. I was at that meeting as a strong opponent of the state constitutional amendment allowing four casinos in Ohio and heard the same statement.
I asked the official whether Penn National had plans to close Raceway Park if the amendment passed. I better understand his response now, especially because the amendment passed by such a large margin.
It's unwise to cannibalize the profits and business interests of a company. I am neither a lobbyist nor an employee of Penn National or any of its affiliates, and I am not drawing any compensation from anyone connected to gaming interests. My only interest is helping to see our northwest Ohio community prosper.
I believe that Penn National can and will make that happen. It will be a great corporate citizen of our community, in addition to being a good tax generator.
Editor's Note: The writer is a former member of the Ohio State Racing Commission and the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
Casino wrongly pushes out track
It's good that The Blade is concerned about Ohio's casinos living up to their promises. But you're still not addressing the main issue: Northwest Ohio is again getting shafted by the powers that be in Columbus, and, in this case, by Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming.
Penn National is scheming to move the only horse-racing license in northwest Ohio to Youngstown, where, as you state, "greener, noncompetitive fields" exist.
No other part of the state has to give up horse racing to get a casino. No other part of the state was left out of the plan to get electronic slot machines to augment race purses, which could help a Raceway Park in Toledo.
The livelihoods of hundreds of area horsemen are being ruined just because Penn National -- which hasn't claimed that its Raceway Park business is hurting and is populated by bettors day and night -- doesn't want to compete with its casino. What will happen to an already depressed northwest Toledo when the track is no longer there?
The only benefit to Penn National's plan is to Penn National, and even that is suspect. Why would The Blade abandon a longtime principle and basically support this plan?
North Towne to be another Southwyck?
Why are Toledo's leaders thinking of tearing down North Towne Square mall, when they still haven't done anything with the former Southwyck Mall property ("Land speculations," editorial, Nov. 28)?
They use the excuse that Chrysler will need this property to improve the lives of its expanded work force. Aren't there Jeep employees in the Southwyck area?
I can't believe city officials are thinking of tearing down another mall to leave the land vacant, as they have done with Southwyck. We heard all the same ideas about that property, and nothing has been developed.
Janet Adams Nieman
Raze old houses before North Towne
Has Toledo City Council lost its collective financial mind ("North Towne action delayed; City council postpones vote on acquiring, razing mall," Nov. 30)?
Demolition has not worked so grandly for Southwyck Mall and the former Value City site off Anthony Wayne Trail. How are acres of weedy concrete appealing to business?
If the city is in a financial crisis, it would be inane to allocate any funds to raze the mall now. Council could put it on a to-do list for the next year or the year after that.
If council is so anxious to demolish things, how about real eyesores that are dangerous, such as vacant, dilapidated houses? These buildings are an invitation to arsonists. Is it going to take a firefighter getting hurt or killed to prod council to get its eradication priorities straight?
North Towne questions abound
The city wants to purchase North Towne Square mall, raze it, then resell the property. Where is this money coming from? What is going on with the Southwick property? Sold? Not yet.
Can city take site for tax nonpayment?
Why can't the city take over the North Towne property for nonpayment of taxes?
Libbey's razing portends future?
Libbey High School is going to be demolished, and apparently no company in Toledo is capable of doing the job ("TPS board OKs bid to raze Libbey High; Historic designation doesn't save building," Nov. 17). Toledo is sending our tax dollars to a company in Cincinnati to demolish the old school.
There seems never to be a good plan for putting vacant land to use. Toledo officials have trouble doing their own business. Why do they think they can run a real estate business?
Chrysler tax breaks a national guide?
Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara says he is confident the huge tax break for Chrysler LLC will move easily through council ("OK near on cutting Chrysler plant taxes; Plan to cost city, school districts $1.5M yearly," Nov. 22).
So lowering taxes helps create jobs, which increases property values and gets our economy moving in the right direction. What a concept. How come no one has thought of this before?
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