Some Gates residents seem open to the idea of having a casino in their town.
During last night's Town Board meeting, five people spoke about a Seneca casino in Gates, but only a couple of them offered any direct opposition. The others had questions about traffic, jobs, benefits to the town, and the process the Senecas would need to follow.
But the questions all assume that the tribe is interested in Gates. Town officials have invited the Senecas to put a casino in the Rochester Tech Park along Elmgrove Road. But Supervisor Mark Assini says he hasn't heard from the Senecas in more than year. Assini says the casino would bring jobs and payments that could reduce town taxes.
"I want to make it clear," Assini said. "There's nothing on the table."
The No More Casinos Coalition, a group opposed to a Seneca casino in Monroe County, tried to rally Gates residents to show up at last night's meeting to speak against putting a casino in their community. The coalition is funded by the owners of Batavia Downs and Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack.
The response in Gates was completely different than in Henrietta, where residents packed Town Board meetings and spoke vehemently against a proposed Seneca casino. But the Seneca Gaming Corp, an affiliate of the Seneca Nation of Indians, had purchased 32 acres of land in Henrietta, and had presented the town with a proposal.
The Henrietta Town Board ultimately passed a resolution opposing the proposal. The town doesn't have any approval authority regarding a Seneca casino; that responsibility falls with the state and federal governments. But input from the town and the county are supposed to be considered during those processes.
The No More Casinos Coalition is also trying to rally casino opponents to speak at tonight's County Legislature meeting. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at the County Office Building, 39 West Main Street.