76% of Queens Residents Favor Aqueduct Gaming’s Planned Approach
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Aug. 19, 2009) – Aqueduct Gaming LLC, a coalition of New York companies bidding for the right to redevelop and operate video lottery gaming at Aqueduct Racetrack, today released details of its proposal aimed at ensuring that Queens’ community character and concerns are fully addressed in the project.
Aqueduct Gaming’s plan includes several features and initiatives based on community discussions and research completed last week by the Siena College Research Institute. In a survey of 703 Queens residents commissioned by Aqueduct Gaming, Siena College Research Institute found that Queens residents have a strong desire for new development at the racetrack that is consistent with the existing character of the community, while quickly providing jobs for local residents. (See www.siena.edu/sri/research for the results of the survey of Queens residents.)
“The people of Queens expect and deserve a project that will enhance and respect their community, not detract from it,” said William Bissett, a leader in the coalition of New York companies comprising Aqueduct Gaming. Bissett is president of Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment.
“As a result of our research and interaction with community leaders, Aqueduct Gaming’s approach represents the right size and character of development, with specific community initiatives designed to ensure maximum benefit to the community, the thoroughbred racing industry and the state.”
Aqueduct Gaming's vision is to create an outstanding gaming and entertainment destination that achieves the right balance of world-class amenities and captures and promotes a neighborhood and community feel. Aqueduct Gaming’s vision includes space for fine-dining restaurants, casual dining and bars, a 2,000 space parking garage, lighting and landscaping to add to the ambience of the community and establishment of comprehensive security and safety measures to ensure a safe and secure facility for guests, employees and the surrounding community. The master plan is comprehensive and scalable and includes all of the amenities one would expect to find in a gaming and entertainment destination. This plan also includes a hotel, additional retail and restaurants, entertainment and other amenities based on community input.
In addition, innovative features such as family-friendly amenities for the benefit of employees, patrons and the broader Queens community include Kids Quest, a supervised hourly daycare center and Cyber Quest, a children’s game arcade.
Aqueduct Gaming’s community features and initiatives include:
- Right-Sized Development and Community Input. Aqueduct Gaming’s proposal includes world-class gaming, entertainment and hospitality in a venue designed to respect the Queens neighborhood. Aqueduct Gaming, with significant input and participation from the community and advisory groups, will complete a master plan to determine what additional economic development features (such as a hotel, conference center, sports complex or family entertainment center) are right for the Queens community.
- Comprehensive Security and Safety Measures. Aqueduct Gaming will maintain a first-rate security force to work with local law enforcement, ensuring a safe and secure facility for guests, employees and the surrounding community.
- Economic Benefits for Residents. Aqueduct Gaming pledges that a large percentage of the permanent workforce will be Queens residents and will establish a participation goal for the purchase of goods and services from local vendors. To achieve these goals, we will open a highly visible Employment and Small Business Center, promoting employment opportunities via job fairs at churches and other community locations and organizations, local media outlets and a Web site. Ms. Cheryl McKissack, one of the principals of Aqueduct Gaming and the owner and manager of African-American-owned McKissack and McKissack, will oversee the operation of the center, which will be supported by Aqueduct Gaming on an ongoing basis and will collaborate with existing organizations in the area to maximize the positive benefits to the community.
- Establishment of a Community Foundation. Aqueduct Gaming has established the Aqueduct Gaming Neighborhood Foundation to share a portion of the profits with the community. Community representatives serving as foundation directors will help identify local organizations and projects in need of funding, with a focus on those that seek to improve the quality of life for Queens residents.
- Environmentally Friendly Design and Construction. Aqueduct Gaming will design the gaming facility to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. Delaware North Companies has designed and constructed every major project for the last four years to LEED standards. In addition, Aqueduct Gaming will use Delaware North’s extensive environmental management program, GreenPath®. These efforts will ensure that both the construction and the operations will be environmentally friendly and will exceed all State of New York standards.
- Daycare Center. As a family-friendly benefit for guests and employees that also fits the community’s desire for elements enhancing the neighborhood, Aqueduct Gaming plans to develop a Kids Quest hourly daycare center and cyber arcade at the venue.
“Aqueduct Gaming’s plan is the most responsible, reliable plan for the community, the thoroughbred racing industry and the State of New York,” said Bissett. “We are New Yorkers committed to doing what’s right for every resident of New York.”
Aqueduct Gaming LLC is a coalition of leading New York companies. Led by Buffalo-based international gaming and entertainment giant Delaware North, the team includes Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, McKissack & McKissack, Shawmut, and Thalden Emery.
For more information regarding Aqueduct Gaming’s plan visit www.aqueductgaming.com
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. The company is one of the largest and most admired privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually and 50,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. It operates at world-class venues ranging from Kennedy Space Center and Yosemite National Park to London's Wembley Stadium and Boston's TD Garden, one of the top concert and sports venues in the world. The company is also the owner of several destination resorts and gaming properties. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com.
About Saratoga Gaming and Raceway
Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, New York's first video gaming facility, opened in January 2004 and has generated more than $200 million in aid to education in New York State. The facility currently houses over 1,700 video lottery terminals, pari-mutuel betting facilities, live racing and extensive food and beverage and entertainment options. The company employs over 650 area residents and its operation has contributed over $150 million in annual economic benefits to the statewide economy. Saratoga Gaming and Raceway is also a partner with Delaware North Companies in the operation of the historic Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY. For more information, visit www.saratogagamingandraceway.com .
About McKissack & McKissack
McKissack & McKissack is the oldest African-American, women-owned professional design and construction firm in the United States. The firm is a family-owned business established in 1905; however, the company’s origin dates back five generations to the first descendant of the McKissack family, who came to this country in 1790 as a slave. The company has been a leader in the planning, design, and construction of more than 6,000 projects, proudly upholding the standards of excellence established by its forefathers. The company currently employs 120 employees and has contracted more than $50 billion dollars in construction over the last decade.
Saratoga Gaming and Raceway