Is the Seneca Nation of Indians ready to roll the dice on Henrietta?
Late Tuesday morning, the Seneca Nation sent out a press release saying that it had retained a Flaum Management subsidiary to "organize and coordinate gaming and hospitality development in the Town of Henrietta."
The announcement caught some Henrietta officials by surprise. Town Board member Bill Mulligan says he knew something was coming, but doesn't have details on what the Senecas are pursuing. He says he'll keep an open mind about a potential casino proposal, just as he would any application to the town.
Jack Moore, a Town Board member who's challenging incumbent Supervisor Michael Yudelson in a Republican primary, also says he doesn't know the details. He says he's "in the middle of the road" until he gets specifics, such as a proposed location and plan for a casino.
Yudelson could not be immediately reached.
It's unclear, however, whether the Senecas are looking exclusively at Henrietta. Susan Asquith of Travers Collins, the Buffalo-based public relations firm working with the Seneca Nation, says she doesn't know if Henrietta is the only location in the Rochester area under consideration. She also says that she doesn't know why the Seneca Nation set its sights on Henrietta, though the Thruway exit may be a factor.
And there are locations in Henrietta that have been mentioned as possible casino sites. Among them: vacant land on East Henrietta Road north of I-390, several hundred acres of former Kodak land near East River Road owned by developer Dutch Summers, the Flaum-owned plaza at South Winton and Brighton-Henrietta Town Line roads, and a Wilmorite-owned site at Hylan Drive and Calkins Road.
Asquith says that while the Senecas are looking at a casino, there are no specific plans for a broader development. Meaning it's unclear if a proposed casino project would include a hotel and restaurants.