DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Dayton City Commissioners gave the go ahead Wednesday for the Hollywood Dayton Raceway, a harness race track slash casino that's expected to bring at least 600 to 700 jobs and maybe as many as 1,000, in addition to 1,000 construction jobs.
Commissioners wanted guarantees many of those jobs will go to local workers.
"I want to make it clear that's really important to our community," says Commissioner Nan Whaley.
Penn National Gaming, the company running the racino, said it would sign something agreeing to that in the next week.
The facility at Needmore and Wagner Ford is expected to open in the spring of 2014, about the same time a racino in Warren County is opening.
"We've done intensive market studies," says Penn National spokesperson Bob Tenenbaum. "We always believed this is a good untapped market so we're confident we can hold our own."
The two tracks are working to make sure their race schedules don't overlap, but the big question is how much will its business overlap with nearby restaurants and shops.
"The customer for one of these facilities only stays two and a half hours on average, so we think there's an opportunity for neighboring businesses to benefit from the influx of people to this property," Tenenbaum says.
Inside the Paradise Key Cafe across the street, a welcome sign sits above the entrance. The owner thinks it's about to get a little more use.
"This will be like that stopping place on the way too and from the casino," says owner Larry Parr.
Those at the Paradise Key Cafe say they've already seen an increase in business from construction workers.
"Everybody in the neighborhood is excited about the potential jobs and revenue and even the traffic count will go up and that will help all of the businesses around us," Parr says.
Already crews are ripping up the concrete pad that an old Delphi plant once sat on and the racino will soon be.
It's a welcoming site for those in Paradise.
"One thing is to hear about it and another thing for it to actually be happening," Parr says.
The racino has one hurdle left. It needs a license transferred from a track in Toledo. Something it thinks the state will consider in March.
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