AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Leaders in Austintown expected a business boom around Hollywood Gaming, which opened nearly 22 months ago, but it has been a slow development.
Built near one of the busiest interchanges in the state, the racino has been a hot commodity in the Mahoning Valley. The surrounding area is a different story, with “for sale” signs lining State Route 46 approaching the racino.
“What we try to remind people is that the racino project took four years to come to fruition, so any project that may happen down there, it may be a year or two, three years down the road,” Trustee Jim Davis said.
He says he and the other trustees have been speaking with developers about space near Hollywood Gaming, and land is certainly available. There are plots right next to the gaming facility and across the street, along with a stretch of open acres along SR 46.
“When you talk about trying to bring a project to the area, this is the hot bed. We’ve got the land available to do these types of projects and we’ve got the connections with those officials that we can ask them to work with us,” Davis said.
Even though it’s been nearly two years since Hollywood Gaming’s opening, Davis is not disappointed or frustrated about the lack of businesses popping up.
“You just got to stay the course and continue to keep the right frame of mind and as long as you’re positive, it’s gonna happen,” he said.
It hasn’t all been bad news and empty plots of land, though. A new Sheetz gas station on the corner of Clarkens Drive and SR 46, and a new hotel near the racino are expected in the coming months.
Austintown will receive half a million dollars this year from Hollywood Gaming – that is its final payment. In total, the township received $3 million from the racino.