Ground broken for new Austintown racino - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Ground broken for new Austintown racino

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio - A $125 million project officially gets underway Thursday.

Officials from Penn National Gaming, along with state and federal lawmakers, Austintown township trustees and several others were on hand on Thursday for the groundbreaking of the Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley Race Track.

The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs and an additional 1,000 jobs once the facility is up and running.

Located on Route 46 and Silica Road, the racino will feature a one-mile dirt race track, grandstands, a casino with 1,500 slot machines, three restaurants and a sports bar.

Eric Schippers, Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs & Govt. Relations at Penn National Gaming, said the project has been a long time coming, dating back to the passage of Ohio Issue 3 in 2009 that allowed for four casinos in the state.

Schippers said that although there have been several steps in the process from then to now, when a major construction project is complete, you don't remember the headaches, you only think "this is pretty cool."

"I'm here to say, 'this is pretty cool,'" Schippers said.

Congressman Tim Ryan, an early proponent of the project, echoed Schippers' sentiment, quoting late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

"There are no big things, only an accumulation of small things done well," Ryan said.

Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building Trades, said the multimillion dollar project will have an impact beyond those directly involved.

"This project is going to create opportunities, and not just for the men and women who are going to build the project, but the suppliers here in the Valley, and obviously the McDonald's across the street," Crane said.

Tonight on 21 News at 6 p.m., we will have team coverage exploring the facility as well as the larger economic impact on the Valley.

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