Casino backers ask Lewiston council for more time

LEWISTON —  Backers of a downtown casino on Tuesday will ask the City Council to extend their option on Bates Mill No. 5.

Stavros Mendros, manager of Great Falls Recreation and Redevelopment, said his group expects state legislators to come up with a development and management plan for Maine casinos during their next session. He hopes that would clear the way for a Lewiston casino.

"Whatever happens at the Legislature, we want to be part of that conversation," Mendros said Friday. "We're just asking the city to give us another six months."

City councilors are scheduled to discuss and vote on extending the option at their 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said the option would be different from the one approved by city voters in June 2010. It would allow the casino group to use the Bates Mill site — at the corner of Main and Canal streets — or another downtown site if legislators allow a Lewiston casino.

The option also would let the City Council sell, rent or demolish the building.

"After the results of their referendum, a Lewiston casino is probably a long shot," Barrett said. "But they are still interested in developing the site, and they asked us if they could help us."

Lewiston voters approved an agreement giving the casino group the option to buy Bates Mill No. 5. The group made $50,000 in payments on that option.

The Lewiston casino question failed spectacularly at the Nov. 8 polls, picking up only 37 percent support statewide. The casino won in Lewiston by 900 votes.

The casino group would have been required to pay the city $100,000 if the statewide vote had been successful. Mendros said that $100,000 payment would not be part of the new option.

"That was very clearly a down payment on the building itself," Mendros said. "It was assuming we were going to work out a price for the building in January and buy it. Now, we're just looking to preserve our rights to bring a casino to Lewiston."

If councilors approve Tuesday, the casino group's option would be extended to June 30, 2012. The group would have to pay the city $50,000 and an additional $5,000 per month if it wanted to extend the option beyond June 30, Barrett said.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Leo Bernard's picture

Mendros is obviously not

Mendros is obviously not qualified to serve the Great Falls Recreation and Redevelopment.

Nathan McCarron's picture

Insanity

How many (more) times before there is a different result?

This is the classic definition of insanity.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

people's poll

Whatever happened to the SunJournal's poll on things we could do with that mill? It has so many possibilities I am dying to know what people think.

David  Cote's picture

Not again

A better question to ask Mendros is, "Why do you and your backers disregard and not respect the voice of the people?" As a public servant he should put that priority at the top of his list instead of his own selfish wants. Rehashing old issues and ideas do nothing to help the community move forward. Revisiting an unpopular plan is a complete waste of resources and time. The land this building sits on is prime real estate and it's disheartening to believe civic leaders can't come up with more worthy ideas and plans for it. But overall I believe Mendros' actions and his timing so soon after we, as a populace decided the fate of a gaming facility in Lewiston is a slap in the face of all who had a say on it.

The Future of Bates Mill No. 5

How about an indoor health and physical fitness facility? By the looks of it many people walking the streets of L-A (including myself) sure could use the facility. An indoor track would be nice to walk, bike, or jog in inclement weather. With the size of the building it could even incorporate a bike track. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that in 2003-2004, 17.1% of US children and adolescents were overweight, with the rates continuing to increase. These children are at an increased risk for developing health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. Activity levels for many children have declined because of a built environment that is unsafe for walking and bicycling, the low percentage of children who take physical education in school, and the popularity of sedentary leisure-time activities. This would be an excellent way for L-A to actually underline the word "Dirigo" (I lead) by being the first urban area in Maine to have such a facility.

Roger Gagne's picture

NO NO NO

What part of NO don't you understand. The building needs to come down.

Ellen Levesque's picture

The voters turned down the

The voters turned down the Lewiston casino by a huge amount of votes. What part of this don't the casino backers understand? There is going to be a casino a few miles down the road in Oxford. Something else might be done with those buildings in Lewiston that would be productive to the residents of the area.What good does it do to vote on issues if the legislature can just overturn the results when certain special interest groups don't like the results??

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