Yet Another Redevelopment Disaster — New York

Ellenville, NY, is a village in the former borscht belt, with a population of 4135 according to Wikipedia, and is located 90 miles north of New York City. It was once prosperous but fell on bad times as local industry closed. That being the case, what does a self-respecting American small town do? How silly of you to ask. It initiates a redevelopment project. But — surprise, surprise — it didn’t work out. According to the New York Times Magazine (Adam Davidson, The Least-Bad Bet, July 14, 2013, at p. 17), in the aftermath of its redevelopment project Ellenville’s Canal Street “is littered with abandoned storefronts. One block over, about all the shops were torn down in a federal urban renewal project. And because nothing ever replaced them all you see are a lot of empty parking lots without much worth visiting.” Oh dear.

So what is the city doing now? It says it will build a casino; that’s what. This announcement came despite the competition of the online casino and dwindling popularity for brick and mortar gambling. Evidently, Detroit’s similar activity did not teach those folks the proper lesson. Perhaps the casino establishments should be focusing on the online aspect of their operations like and many other online casinos have done.

So will it work? Will it bootstrap Ellenville into prosperity? Who knows? We certainly claim no mavenhood in casino marketing and operations, but it strikes us that people who can drive down from the New York area to Atlantic City where they can enjoy the beach, the ocean, and the boardwalk, as well as a selection of fancy hotels, providing fine dining and all those gaming tables, are unlikely to drive a hundred or so miles in the opposite direction just to enjoy the fleshpots of Ellenville. Additionally, the latest casinos seem to be operating in an online capacity only. But what do we know? It says here that the Ellenville casino will be operational in 2016, so we better wait until then. Keep an eye out folks. In the meantime, go to website here to get your casino fix.

And by the way, Atlantic City has been losing money on its gambling venture and is dipping into public funds. And apart from the few fancy hotels, the rest of the place isn’t doing well.

Oh, yes. We almost forgot. Neither this New York Times Magazine article, nor some others we perused, informs us what this caper is going to cost and who will pay for it. Taxpayers, hang on to your wallets and stand by!