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Hollywood Casino agrees to annex
The city of Columbus and Penn National announced May 24 they reached an agreement that will result Hollywood Casino annexing into the city in exchange for water and sewer service and other considerations.
The settlement agreement was drafted in response to U.S. District Court Judge Gregory L. Frost requesting both parties reach a settlement prior to hearing the case.
Columbus City Council and Franklin County Board of County Commissioners’ must still approve the settlement.
In addition to providing water and sewer service to the site, the city will reimburse Penn National $15 million in public purpose environmental and roadway improvements.
The city will also assist Penn National in obtaining all necessary city approvals, including various permits, to help ensure the casino will open on schedule in late 2012.
“While this has been a lengthy and at times contentious negotiation, I am pleased the city and Penn National have come to terms on the agreement and look forward to fulfilling our promises of revitalizing the Westside,” Mayor Michael Coleman said.
Coleman added, “I want to thank Judge Frost for his assistance and counsel in this important matter and am excited to work with Penn National to ensure the casino is constructed on time and we begin the process of transforming this important neighborhood.”
“We’re pleased to be in a position to collectively lay down swords and take up shovels to get this economic development project built,” Penn National President Tim Wilmott said. “I’m sure this settlement will come as welcome relief to the expected 3,500 construction workers, some of whom are already mobilized on the site of our anticipated $400 million economic development project, as well as those looking to fill our nearly 2,000 jobs at the casino.”
A key agreement between the two parties is a commitment to create a Westside Community Fund.
The city and Penn National have both agreed to contribute $2.5 million for a total $5 million over four years in the surrounding neighborhood.
The dollars will be used for economic development, job training for residents, minority and small business outreach, additional infrastructure needs, and support of charitable and civic organizations.
The settlement among the city, county and Penn National is conditioned upon the dismissal of all current litigation involving the casino project.
The city also announced plans to assist Franklin Township.
The city plans to promptly commence good faith negotiations to achieve a new agreement, which involves the same core issues addressed in the prior non-binding Memorandum of Understanding between them.
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