Businesses Near Casino Waiting To Cash In On Casino Development

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The Hollywood Casino Columbus turns one year old Tuesday, but some people on Columbus' west side say they're still waiting to cash in on the revitalization promised when it was built.

The sign says open, but the Hollywood Casino seems to be overshadowing George's Coney Island across the street.

Workers say fewer dogs are being sold and fewer customers are coming in.

"They said we'd have so much from the casino, but there's nothing," says waitress Sue Chaffin.

The family business has been here since 1948. Chaffin has been there for 18 years. She used to rake in the tips, but now she says she is just scraping by.

"We're down now to where we have one waitress on the floor where we always had two," said Chaffin.

Everyone here backed the casino when it was just a dream. They say the reality is, it draws people in and they stay put. They don't venture to surrounding businesses.

"There were promises made that, so far, haven't been kept when it comes to the casino," said Chaffin.

Rob McIntyre lives in a neighborhood nestled behind the casino.  He thought it would bring shopping.

They talked about making a Weston version, that's Easton here," said McIntyre.

The Westland Mall property sits vacant. Nancy Rhynard of the Hilltop Business Association says people need to give it time.

"The other businesses in the area are helping to drive the Westland Mall owner into doing something eventually," said Rhynard,  "It's unfortunate that's not going as quickly as we'd like."

Rhynard says existing businesses have renovated and she points to new development. Someone just purchased a nearby strip mall.

"It's been purchased. You'll see renovations already on that building and upgrades on that. They're starting to fill the vacancies," said Rhynard.

Rhynard points to the road improvements.

"It's going to be a boulevard effect. We're going to have some green trees and walking space," said Rhynard.

But Chaffin says those improvements make it tough to reach some businesses.

"You can't turn left out here at the light if you're coming north up Georgesville Road so people go on," said Rhynard.

A casino representative said they didn't want to make any comments ahead of a planned news conference on Tuesday.

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