Alcott is wary of proposed gaming facility | New

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News that a possible Kentucky Downs satellite gaming facility in Bowling Green was on hold after a 7-3 vote by the Warren County Town and County Planning Commission last month has been welcomed by the mayor from Bowling Green, Todd Alcott.

The committee voted to reject an amended development plan submitted by BG Landco Corp. run by the owners of Kentucky Downs, Marc Falcone and Ronald Winchell.

This amendment would have paved the way for the development of 58.8 acres along Ken Bale Boulevard for a gambling establishment that would be similar to the Mint Gaming Hall in the Kentucky Downs on a 16-acre lot across from Sam’s Club.

The request asked to authorize a gaming facility and an establishment with more than 60% of dedicated seating in a bar.

Asked last week by the Daily News about his thoughts on the proposed facility, Alcott said he was concerned about having such a business in the city.

“I’m worried about what that will do (to) the community,” he said of a facility that is allegedly based on legal gambling. “I lived it in Las Vegas,” where he was stationed in the Air Force, he said. “I saw the positive and the negative.

Alcott also criticized the process used to authorize such a facility at Bowling Green.

The Kentucky General Assembly earlier this year legalized historic slot-like horse racing machines. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission then gave the green light to Kentucky Downs to expand its licensed premises within 60 miles of its Franklin Racecourse – which made Bowling Green by far the largest population center in the State within this radius, the obvious location for expansion.

But at the Planning Commission meeting, Member Dean Warren successfully made a motion to deny the request.

“We had to decide if this would help diversify the local economy, support tourism and improve the community,” Warren said. “I hadn’t seen it would. I have gone strictly with what is best for the community.

Warren was joined by Commissioners Shannon Blackburn, Sandy Clark, Debbie Richey, Rick Starks, India Unseld and Velma Runner to vote against. Tim Graham, Mary Vitale and Christiaan Volkert voted against the refusal, with Commissioners Greg Gay and Mary Belle Ballance absent.

Kentucky Downs officials indicated at the meeting that the expansion effort at Bowling Green would likely continue.

“We’ll be looking at all options, but it’s too early to tell what will happen,” Bowling Green attorney Buzz English said. “I think there will be some historic horse racing machines in Bowling Green. It’s just a matter of where.

But the Town of Bowling Green Commission would have the final say on the decision, regardless of the Planning Commission recommendation.

“I don’t want to influence planning and zoning decisions (but) I’m proud of the decisions they made,” Alcott said.

Kentucky Downs officials last week declined to comment on the planning commission’s decision and plans for the future.

– Follow Editor-in-Chief Wes Swietek on Twitter @WesSwietek or visit bgdailynews.com.



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