Plan To Beautify Area Around Casino Could Cost Taxpayers Millions


UPDATED: Monday October 8, 2012 3:10 PM

The Ohio Department of Transportation wants to spend nearly $4.5 million to renovate the area near the new Hollywood Casino.

The department wants federal, state, county and township money to renovate West Broad Street near Georgesville Road to make the area safer and more attractive for visitors.

According to Franklin Township officials, the state wants the township to contribute $400,000 to the project.

“Franklin Township only has $834,000 in the general fund,” said Franklin Township Trustee Don Cook “And at this time, $400,000 is one half of what we will have in our general fund.

Cook said that the township cannot afford to hire new police officers, to repair its salt barn that has been condemned and the streetlights to protect its own citizens.

The township also does not get a share of the taxes generated by the new casino.

Resident John Fleshman said that he does not think he should have to foot the bill for the renovations.

“This isn’t Disney World,” Fleshman said. “That’s how they’re trying to treat it. But the problem is that they are doing it at our expense.”

Fleshman and Cook both said that they believe the money for the project should come from those that will benefit the most from the project.

Cook said that Franklin Township will not be one of the entities to benefit the most.

“Franklin Township does not have the money, and the taxpayers of Franklin Township should not be footing the bill for a state highway bordered mostly by the City of Columbus,” Cook said.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials said that the project was planned long before the casino site was selected for the intersection.

On Thursday, Franklin Township trustees plan to vote on whether to spend the first $100,000 for the project.

Two of the three township trustees said that they were supportive of the renovation but would not say how their votes would fall on Thursday.

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