Friday, July 5, 2013
By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Public officials and community leaders pushed shovels into dirt, formally breaking ground for the $125 million race course to be built on State Route 46.
“I think it can do a lot for this area,” said Lori Watson, Austintown Home Depot store manager. “It’ll bring people to this neighborhood, to this community. We’re awfully excited.”
Watson and Anthony Sattarelle, operations manager, attended the formal ceremony May 30 to support the endeavor.
“It’ll help all the businesses, bring all the people over here, there’ll be more traffic,” Sattarelle said. “I’d rather have the money brought here versus out of state. That’s what happens right now.”
The video lottery terminal and thoroughbred racetrack are expected to generate about 1,000 construction jobs and to create 1,000 jobs once it opens.
“We talk about Lordstown and the Chevrolet Cruze, we talk about V & M Star, we talk about Turning Technologies – well, Austintown Township has finally got its piece of its puzzle,” said Jim Davis, Austintown Trustee.
Davis added that the construction of Penn National Gaming Inc.’s Hollywood at Mahoning Valley Race Course means new hotels and restaurants will be built in the township.
“Austintown Township has finally found its niche. It’s going to be the hotspot of the community. It’s going to be a place for all of us to gather,” Davis said.
Tim Wilmott, chief operating officer, said that Penn National will purchase and hire locally whenever possible.
“This is going to be a tremendous facility. I love this site,” Wilmott said. “We believe in this part of northeast Ohio.”
The facility, which is expected to be completed in 2014, will feature up to 1,500 video lottery terminals, a one mile thoroughbred race track, a simulcast theater, and various dining and entertainment options. Turner Construction is acting as construction manager.