Check makes casino option for Bates Mill No. 5 official

Casino option official
Staff Photo

Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett signs an option agreement to sell the Bates Mill Building No. 5 while Peter Robinson, treasurer for Great Falls Recreation and Redevelopment, writes a $10,000 check — the first payment on the option. Mayor Larry Gilbert, Great Falls Manager Stavros Mendros and partner Tim Poutre look on.

LEWISTON — Backers of a downtown Lewiston casino made their effort official, paying the city $10,000 toward an option on the Bates Mill No. 5 building.

Option Check
Staff Photo

This $10,000 check to the city of Lewiston was the first as part of an option-purchase agreement for the Bates Mill No. 5 building. The Great Falls Recreation and Redevelopment LLC hopes Maine voters will let them build a casino there.

The check is the first of four the Great Falls Recreation and Redevelopment LLC must give the city according to an option agreement approved by city voters on June 8.  According to the ballot language, the group will pay Lewiston $150,000 in several installments through December 2011.

According to the agreement, the group's first $10,000 payment was due by July 8.

"But we're happy to make our first payment a couple of weeks ahead of the deadline," said Peter Robinson, treasurer of the casino group. "We are thrilled at the vote, with two-thirds of the people of Lewiston who saw the economic merit of putting a casino here."

A second $10,000 payment will be due Feb. 28, 2011, and a $30,000 payment will be due July 31, 2011. A final $100,000 payment will be due on Dec. 31, 2011 — two months after the matter goes before voters at a statewide referendum.

Residents voted in support of the option agreement 5,041 to 2,574. The group is currently gathering signatures to put the measure on the statewide ballot in November 2011.

Stavros Mendros, manager of the casino group, said signature collectors collected 20,000 signatures at the polls on election day. So far, the group has collected 24,000 signatures. They need a total of 55,087 to put the measure on the November 2011 ballot.

"We're pleased because we didn't just get support from Lewiston voters at the polls, but voters statewide," Mendros said. "When they came forward to sign our petition, they showed their support for our project."

The effort picked up one more supporter Monday; Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert.

"I'm very supportive," Gilbert said. "I didn't come out in support of it at the time. I wanted the citizens of Lewiston to speak. They have spoken. They have spoken loudly, and now we want to see the will of the people through."

Gilbert said the casino would be positive for Lewiston and the surrounding areas.

"It will create a number of jobs, well-paying jobs and jobs with benefits," Gilbert said. "It will help to revitalize our downtown and help to clean up the river. It's doing a whole lot of good things."

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

In addition the 50-60k

In addition the 50-60k signatures will certainly get some scrutiny given past track records.

Jeff Parshall's picture

New Business brings more revenue

Great job voters! Keep the cash in Maine instead of heading north or south of us. The tax payers should get a break on their property bills. Area Businesses will grow, and more jobs created. Let their be enough signatures to get this on the ballot.

 's picture

Anything Mendros is involved

Anything Mendros is involved in should make reasonable and responsible people give pause.

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

jeez 150 grand I thought the

jeez 150 grand I thought the ballot said they would pay what the property was valued at and that figure over ten years ago was at least 5 times as much I mean that is what the city drew blood out a working company for which eventualy died but for many many years the bates mill property was in the millions and that is what the company paid taxes on but oh well graft is eveything in Lewiston, I Have a question I heard that as of the time the first payment is made this company will get all profits from the parking area and such which would have gone to the City which will end up paying for the building and if so they are not buying the building we are and if that is so then those who voted for it will be Suckers but then again Casinos are for suckers thats how they make thier wealth!!! who will pay for the widening of roads and other issues that will come with a casino You will in the Millions what little hand outs you get from the casino will not come close to the cost!! and when you get 1 in Vermont and others come like wal marts there will not be enough suckers to keep them all open!!!

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