Press-Republican

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February 19, 2013

Essex County casinos touted

ELIZABETHTOWN — Some Essex County lawmakers think casinos would be a great economic boost for the county.

The state is considering granting more regions permission to host casinos, and Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) recently told the County Board of Supervisors that Essex County could use the extra revenue.

“What about a casino? All kidding aside, what are we going to do? Lowe’s would make a perfect site in Ticonderoga. You have a parking lot.”

The Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in Ticonderoga closed in 2011, citing a lack of business, and the building at the Four Corners has sat vacant ever since.

“Surrounding counties are already submitting interest,” Scozzafava said.

The only casino in the state outside of those on Native American land is the racino near the Saratoga Springs horse-racing track.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed building up to three casinos in upstate New York as part of a plan to enhance the state’s economy. The State Legislature passed a constitutional amendment last year legalizing up to seven casinos. It must be passed again this year or in 2014 and then go to public referendum.

Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) suggested Scozzafava’s own town could be home to a casino.

“Moriah would be perfect for it,” Politi said.

The county will soon own a potential location at the former Frontier Town theme park in North Hudson, just off exit 29 of Interstate 87. Property taxes on Frontier Town have not been paid since 2008, after it was previously sold to Sunrise Land Development of Westchester in a 2004 tax sale, and the county is seizing it again.

“The perfect place would be the old Frontier Town in North Hudson,” Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) said. “It’s right off the Northway, has perfect access.”

Sunrise paid $210,000 for the Frontier Town motel, restaurant and Western town storefronts on 85 acres in the theme park, which closed in 1998.

The property at 80 Frontier Town Road has been listed for sale for $659,000 and is assessed for $550,000.

The Board of Supervisors took no action on the suggestions, although Scozzafava said later he may bring it up again at future sessions.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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