Voters, lawmakers to decide on Bonita slot machines
Posted: Sep 06, 2012 10:57 PM EDT Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:57 PM
Slot machines may be coming to Bonita Springs. It’s part of a multi-million dollar expansion project proposed for the Naples-Fort Myers Dog Track on Bonita Beach Road.
The name of the game Thursday is poker, but slots may be next.
It’s the idea behind an expansion project for the Naples-Fort Myers dog track in Bonita Springs.
“Because of its location at Old 41 and Bonita Beach Road, we believe it could well be the southern anchor of our downtown redevelopment area on Old 41,” City Manager Carl Schwing.
Schwing said it could be just the thing to attract more people and more jobs to the area.
Local leaders predict slot machines at the track could bring a million dollars to the city each year and 500 jobs, which about half will be for Bonita residents only, as part of a proposed agreement with the city and track management.
“We have a number of our residents who are in need of assistance, they’re looking for a leg up if you will, and we think this is an opportunity for that leg up,” Schwing said.
Everything hinges on two things: One, voters will make a stand in November since the issue will be on the ballot. Two, lawmakers would have to sign off too next Spring.
Despite these two factors, management is starting the planning now.
“We’ll start the preliminary stuff to get the ball rolling because we don’t want to, We know in today’s economy jobs are hard to come by and we don’t want people to have to wait,” Vice President, Izzy Havenick said.
While some residents said they aren’t fond of seeing more gambling, others like Steve Stroot said it could provide a much needed boost.
“I think it will bring revenue to the city as well as bring more people to the dog track,” Havenick said.
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