Concord project clears another regulatory obstacle
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO January 4 The Town of Thompson Board had an unusually busy Wednesday as a noontime special meeting preceded the board’s annual organizational meeting at 7:30 p.m.
The earlier, “special meeting,” stemmed from the board decision on December 18 to table the acceptance of the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) from EPR Properties and Empire Resorts, the principal parties involved in the $600 million entertainment, housing and gambling complex on the grounds of the former Concord Resort.
The December 18 decision to hold-off on the acceptance of the DGEIS/FEIS was initiated by Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini, who wanted more time for his board to go over the documents which he claimed were dropped off only earlier that same afternoon.
“They brought this in at about 3:30 this afternoon, and they expect us to go through that all by this evening?” asked Cellini on the 18th.
Accordingly, the only items on the agenda at noon Monday, were the presentation and acceptance of the DGEIS/FEIS, which went exactly as planned this time around with the board voting unanimously to accept the documents, marking another big step in the completion of the huge project.
In an interview with the Democrat, EPR local counsel Steve Vegliante said, “As far as projects I’ve seen go, this is by far one of the fastest I’ve seen. It’s been what nine months and we’re already at the FEIS stage, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.”
Asked when he hopes to break ground on the project, Vegliante said, “We’d like to have a shovel in the ground by the spring and I think we’re on track for that. It’s going to be very exciting.”
Regarding the progress EPR and Empire Resorts have made thus far, Cellini remarked, “They’re right where they promised they’d be at this point, and in working together with them they made all the changes we [the Thompson board] requested to the documents. Now we just need to keep moving ahead.”