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Mixed reaction to casino in Ogdensburg

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OGDENSBURG — The possibility of a gambling casino here continues to excite some and turn off others.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed three non-Indian casinos for upstate but has not identified specific sites. St. Lawrence County officials have asked the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority to endorse the use of the 10.3-acre parcel that houses the state agency’s Bridge Plaza administrative building as the site for a casino.

OBPA Executive Director Wade A. Davis is all for it and has sent the governor information supporting the site.

“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “We’re already on board.”

OBPA Vice Chairman Frederick J. Carter agreed.

“Of course,” he said. “You’re talking at least 200 to 300 jobs tied into that.”

Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra M. Porter will suggest that the chamber’s board of directors endorse a pro-casino resolution when it meets next week.

“I personally think it’s a good idea,” she said.

On the other side of the coin, City Councilor R. Storm Cilley said he believes gambling casinos prey on “weak people” and wants nothing to do with them. Neither, he said, should the state.

“It’s a sad day when government relies on casinos for revenues,” Mr. Cilley said.

Councilor Daniel E. Skamperle said it’s been suggested to him by several Ogdensburg residents that another piece of property on the St. Lawrence River besides Bridge Plaza be considered as a casino site: the former Diamond International property on the city’s west side.

“I’m just putting it out there,” Mr. Skamperle said.

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