West side leaders said plans to redevelop the area went into high gear on Wednesday, just hours after voters statewide approved the Columbus Hollywood Casino's address change.
Business owners and people who live in the area said they hope the casino will help rid the area of signs advertising the dozens of empty buildings for sale or lease, 10TV's Cara Connelly reported.
Issue 2 passed easily on Tuesday, with 68 percent of Ohio voters supporting moving the location of the city's casino from the Arena District to the west side.
Casino developer Penn National Gaming said it would have meetings as early as Wednesday to discuss specific plans for the casino, which will be built at the site of the old Delphi plant, near Westland Mall, Connelly reported.
Penn National also said it would seek to sell the Arena District property originally intended for the casino as soon as possible.
In November, Ohio voters approved casino gambling in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo. However, wording on November's ballot indicated the casino would be built on 18 acres in the Arena District. Many city leaders came out against building the casino near its downtown location.
Developers who own property along Broad Street said their phones started ringing early Wednesday morning, Connelly reported.
Franklin Township officials have already met with the Ohio Department of Transportation to discuss improvements along Broad Street all the way from Interstate 270 east to Wilson Road.
The plan calls for the addition of street lights, sidewalks, bike lanes, raised islands and specially designed bus pull-offs.
According to Franklin Township Trustee Tim Guyton, the improvement will be paid for with a multi-million dollar federal grant.
"They (casino developers) will actively put on the table the potential for a hotel, for instance, which would not have happened with the downtown casino," said Penn National spokesman Bob Tenenbaum.
Penn National has narrowed their search for a general contractor down to four Ohio-based firms, Connelly reported.
Columbus City Council President and west side native Mike Mentel was among those who rallied support for the casino move.
"We have resurgence, a revitalization, and we have jobs coming here to Columbus," Mentel said on Tuesday night. "They are going to be here on the west side. We did a great job."
During the campaign, some opponents of Issue 2 worried that Penn National would shy away from hiring central Ohioans, Connelly reported.
Eric Schippers, vice president of Penn National, addressed those concerns on Tuesday night.
"Here in Columbus we have already committed to the mayor and we've committed to the mayors in our other communities that at least 90 percent of our work force is going to be hired locally," he said. "These are going to be 2,000 permanent jobs."
Penn National said it plans to break ground on the casino in the last quarter of this year, with construction continuing through 2011 and 2012.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for continuing coverage.
April 29, 2010:
Issue 2 Supporters Betting On New Casino Site
April 5, 2010: Casino Backers Want To Be Ready To Build On West Side
March 16, 2010: Suppor ters Kick Off Rally For Columbus Casino
March 8, 2010: Columbus Casino's Owners Finalize Deal For Beulah Park
January 25, 2010: Study Shows Columbus Casino Could Cost County Millions
January 20, 2010: Pitch Begins To Move Casino To West Side
January 19, 2010: Casino's Owners Select Land At Former Delphi Plant
January 19, 2010: West Side Looks Like Choice For Casino
January 15, 2010: Another Neighborhood Courts Columbus Casino
January 15, 2010: Columbus Casino's Owners Complete Purchase Of Arena District Land
January 12, 2010: Polaris Area Says Thanks, But No Thanks To Casino
January 12, 2009: Columbus Casino Site Could Be Announced Midweek
January 6, 2010: Another Community Welcomes Columbus Casino
January 6, 2010: Hilltop Residents Ponder Casino Addition
January 5, 2010: Hilltop Could Be Warming Up To Casino
December 31, 2009: Casino Developers Willing To Consider Alternatives To Arena District
December 28. 2009: Group OK With Casino, But Not In Arena District
December 9, 2009: Fight Over Casino Goes To Statehouse
November 13, 2009: See What Columbus' Casino Will Look Like
November 4, 2009: Casino Developers Say They Will Keep Promises