Bob Bahre joins Black Bear casino group in push for Oxford, Maine casino

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OXFORD —  Bob Bahre and his son Gary, former owners of the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon and the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine, have become investment partners in Black Bear Entertainment, according to a release issued by the company early Tuesday.

Black Bear is the company proposing to build a resort casino in Oxford pending a statewide vote on the issue this November.

“What I like about this resort idea is it will benefit the entire state of Maine, and it will build on tourism, Maine’s most important industry,” Bahre said in a prepared statement. “The state’s economy badly needs a jump start, and a year-round resort is a good way to attract new visitors and build the tax base.”

Steve Barber, Black Bear CEO and the former president and CEO of Barber Foods in Portland, said Bob and Gary Bahre are welcomed investors and additions to the his team

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“Bob and Gary have created hundreds of jobs for Maine people, and they are incredibly astute businessmen,” Barber said. “This development will create hundreds of good paying jobs for the people of Maine and contribute millions of dollars in new tax revenue for teachers salaries, college scholarships for our students, as well as many other state and local programs.”

 Bob Bahre has built housing all over the state, as far north as Presque Isle, and still owns several shopping centers in Maine, the release stated.

Bahre owned and operated the Oxford Plains Speedway from 1964 to 1986, and in 1990 along with his brother Richard and son Gary built New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H.

The Bahres sold NHIS to Speedway Motorsports, Inc., in January of 2008, and the company still retains Bob Bahre as a consultant.

In the release Bahre laments the flight of manufacturing jobs from Maine, pointing to the closing of Robinson Manufacturing, Cummings Mill, Paris Manufacturing, Wilner Wood Products, A.C. Lawrence Leather, Oxford Homes and Burlington Homes in Oxford County alone.

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