OP-ED: An Anchor For Our Community

BY BETTY BRATON

It wasn’t so long ago when the opening of the Aqueduct racetrack was delayed by… pigeon poop. One official was quoted in a city newspaper in 2011, saying “There were pigeon droppings everywhere — on the floors, ceilings, walls, on every surface.” Think about how far we’ve come, as this month Resorts World Casino New York City celebrates a remarkable second anniversary. This milestone is an incredible achievement, and on behalf of Community Board 10, I would like to congratulate Resorts World and Genting for two years of notable success that has made the casino a leader in its industry and an integral part of our community instead of an eyesore and embarrassment for our residents.

Today, I can confidently say that Resorts World’s arrival in Queens is one of the best things to happen to our community, City and State. Right off the bat, seven out of every 10 dollars that the casino brings in heads directly to the State in taxes, most of which are used to support education.

Through the construction of its facility alone, the casino has transformed the once decaying Aqueduct site into a newly developed Racino with state-of-the-art facilities that have revamped the area’s landscape. This redevelopment initiative also includes the recent construction of a new MTA subway station that makes the neighborhood surrounding the casino more accessible to each borough.

Furthermore, as the Chair of Community Board 10, it is important to me that any community member or business is conscious of the needs and concerns of community residents.  Despite initial apprehension around the casino’s arrival, in Resorts World we found a cooperative and mindful partner willing to communicate with members of the community and elected officials. Over the years, representatives of Resorts World have attended many community meetings and have always made an effort to answer questions and alleviate concerns in an honest fashion.

Thanks to the casino’s commitment to hiring a local workforce, the Queens community has benefited from the creation of quality permanent jobs. Every dollar earned by local workers at the casino also benefits the economy in the area. Paychecks go towards paying rents and mortgages, buying local goods and services, and supporting our community’s families. Resorts World enables an anchor for our community and provides opportunity for continual growth in the local economy.

In addition, Resorts World plays a very direct role in helping the local economy by giving local businesses the opportunity to partner with the casino for events and promotions. Nothing should be more important to us than the continued revitalization of our borough’s infrastructure and economy.

Resorts World’s willingness to collaborate with our neighborhood, coupled with the enormous boost that the casino provides our local economy and its residents has made it a vital member of the Queens community and one whose partnership we will continue to value in the years to come.

Betty Braton is the chair of Community Board 10.