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Anti-casino pressure mounts

Henrietta, N.Y. -- Town board members in Henrietta have other town business to handle, but the casino conversation is getting louder.

No More Casinos Coalition, a group backed by other gaming interests, has crafted a full public relations blitz at the town board. The Seneca Nation of Indians formally expressed interest in a gaming venture in Henrietta in August.

We cant just listen to an anti-group and say, Oh, yeah, we agree with that, said Jack Moore (R), Henrietta town supervisor.

At a board meeting scheduled for Wednesday night, the group plans to unveil a petition signed by 1,700 people who are against a casino in the town.

The coalition is seeking the support of local elected officials at all levels to fight the Seneca plan. Henrietta Supervisor Jack Moore, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and Gov. Andrew Cuomo all must certify that the planned casino will have no negative impact on the community for the plan to go through, wrote the coalition in a news release.

Local clergy have joined the anti-casino push.

Pastor Donald Boldt of the Henrietta Christian Fellowship said he signed the petition because of the toll gambling addiction has on the community.

Ive had to bail out too many individuals who have overspent on the lottery and on casinos, added Delbert C. Tiemann, pastor emeritus with Pinnacle Lutheran Church.

Regardless of the pressure, town board members said theyre working to learn more about what the Seneca Nation wants to do.

Board member Bill Mulligan said he believes the parcel being sought by the nation is next to Getinge Group on East Henrietta Road. The site is next to Interstate 390.

Thats a good location in terms of not impacting traffic on residents," Mulligan said. "But would it be plausible or hopefully reality to have a spur coming from 390 into the property, and then a spur going back out onto 390? 

Moore said the Senecas told board members that after they close on the land, they will explain their proposal to the people of Henrietta.

On Thursday, Moore plans to speak with a state senator and Buffalo-based attorney who have been involved with negotiations with the nation in the past.

The Seneca Nation of Indians declined to comment, according to a spokesman.

Developer David Flaum did not return two messages left for him Wednesday.

 
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