Paul McKibben reports:
The owners of the racino that’s being built in Warren County near Monroe announced Tuesday it will give the county $3 million to help redevelop the Warren County Fairgrounds.
The county-owned fairgrounds – located on North Broadway Street in Lebanon – will be without horse racing and a major tenant when the Lebanon Raceway moves to the racino site. The racino is expected to open during the first quarter of 2014. The county has estimated the fairgrounds needs $2.5 million in repairs.
Among the ideas that have been mentioned for the fairgrounds is an equestrian center, a youth sports complex and convention space for smaller-scale events such as wedding receptions. The county could also sell the property and a find a new home for the county fair.
The county could receive a total of $6.5 million for redevelopment of the fairgrounds. Warren County Commissioner Dave Young said the county has already received $500,000 in deferred maintenance on the fairgrounds from the two trotting clubs that owned the Lebanon Raceway. The county could also get up to $3 million from the state for losing the track.
The redevelopment money was the result of negotiations between the county and the racino. Racino operator Miami Valley Gaming said it will contribute $1 million to the county this year and an additional $500,000 per year for the next four years.
“Miami Valley Gaming is proud to support the county’s efforts to redevelop the raceway that is such an important part of the Warren County Fairgrounds,” Jim Simms, president and general manager of Miami Valley Gaming, said in a statement.
The racino will feature a 186,000-square-foot gaming facility, up to 2,500 video lottery terminals and a 5/8 -mile harness racing track.
Preliminary work has started at the 120-acre racino site at Ohio 63 and Union Road in Turtlecreek Township that once was prison farm land. The location is close to Exit 29 on Interstate 75. Two state prisons are across from the racino on Ohio 63.
Miami Valley Gaming said the project will create 1,000 construction jobs and 700 permanent jobs.
Miami Valley Gaming is a joint venture between Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. and Buffalo, N.Y.-based Delaware North Cos. Gaming & Entertainment.
Commissioner Pat South said the county will create a committee that will make determine a plan about the fairgrounds’ future. Young said commissioners will “have a pretty good idea” within six month about what to do with the fairgrounds the following year.