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.