Hollywood Casino's Groundbreaking Ceremony
April 25 marked the groundbreaking at the Hollywood Casino site. According to Chris Haydocy; this new development will create $62 million a year in tax revenue being split between Franklin County, the city of Columbus, and Franklin Township.
“The bright lights will let everyone know the Westside is back and ready for business,” Haydocy said.
Timothy Guyton, chairman of Franklin Township, believes this project would bring the momentum the area has needed for years, and he is eager to see it completed in the estimated 18 months.
“I believe we’ve seen a theme since 2010. That theme is to bring back the full revitalization of the Westside,” said Guyton, adding that in addition to the Georgesville Road and Broad Street boulevard projects – he hopes to see plenty more development in the future.
Guyton added, “I stand here today to welcome Penn National as our newest neighbor.”
According to Smoot Construction CEO Louis Smoot Sr., the bid process for the foundation phase of the project began last week, and Smoot estimates it will take a couple weeks to review all the applications.
Throughout the various phases of the construction project, Smoot has promised to create 3,500 jobs. Additionally, Smoot intends to follow the footsteps of Penn National and keep his promises – helping to rebuild the Westside in a professional and timely manner.
“I know the Westside,” Smoot said. “I think this could be the catalyst to bring the energy back people are looking for.”
According to NAACP Columbus President Noel Williams, once the casino is completed, in late 2012, an additional 2,000 jobs will open to Westside residents. Williams felt that Penn National has embraced the diverse populace of the Westside, which is evident through their business practices.
A sense of nostalgia was present at the groundbreaking, speakers and guests talking about the “old days” of Westland Mall and the retail arena that was present a decade ago along West Broad Street.
“One of the reasons I’m such a starch supporter is because it’ll bring the jobs we’re talking about,” State Representative Ted Celeste said.
“I’m happy we’re finally moving forward. Not only for the casino, but everything that can now happen around the casino,” Chuck Patterson, chairman for the Greater Hilltop Area Commission said.