Some of Coney Island’s locals are far from happy with a proposed plan to build a multi-billion casino complex on the iconic boardwalk. For the casino, Thor Equities partnered up with Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation, and Legends Hospitality. However, their project which would include a casino, hotel, and entertainment venue was not well received by some.

New York is in the process of awarding three commercial gaming licenses for the downstate region. At the start of the year, the Gaming Location Facility Board kicked off a Request for Applications which will review bids from third-party companies. Winners will be announced by the end of 2023 and a license is believed to cost US$500 million.

  • Residents Protest Against Project

The process of awarding licenses is still in the early stages, but some Coney Islanders are not happy about a potential casino in their neighbourhood. The opposition to the gaming resort believes that the project will not be created to benefit the local community and instead, it will worsen traffic in the area while bringing more crime and gambling addictions.

During the weekend more than a dozen residents and advocates gathered at the casino’s proposed site to voice their opposition against it. They carried signs saying “No! Casino in Coney Island.” However, last weekend’s rally saw the coming together of a smaller group of people in comparison to previous meetings. But the message was still the same.

A while back, Thor Equities revealed more details on what the casino complex will feature, provided that they get one of the licenses. Officially titled ‘The Coney’, Thor Equities and Partners’ project would be located near the famous Coney Island Boardwalk and the iconic 150-foot-tall Wonder Wheel. Also, for the initiative, Thor has secured an approximately five-acre plot at Surf Ave. and W. 12th St.

One of the present opposers of the project during the weekend’s rally was longtime Coney Island resident Ann Michell Valdez. In an interview with a local media outlet, she said that money should not be put into such a gaming resort. Instead, she believes that the funds should be channelled into creating something that helps the community, this could include something about the youth.

-Board Also Position Itself Against the Plan

Recently, Community Board 13 which is one of the 59 community boards in NYC, declared that it is against having a US$3-billion casino resort in the area which is already plagued by traffic. Chair of CB13, Lucy Mujica Diaz the traffic in the neighbourhood was quite tedious and the board does not want to worsen it further.

Additionally, the CB13 resolution stated the board was hearing from its community and recommended opposing a casino project in the district while also calling officials to inform the New York State Gaming Commission of the decision. The resolution was passed by a 23-8 vote. It should be explained that the board’s stance has no legal bearing and cannot singlehandedly stop a potential project.

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