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NEW PROPOSALS SOUGHT ON REBUILDING PARK CASINO

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is seeking new proposals from private developers for rebuilding the Beaver Island Casino and operating it, this time for 40 years.

There were no offers when the state sought proposals to rebuild and operate the casino for 20 years.

The landmark in Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island was destroyed by fire four years ago.

"This time we're trying to make it as attractive as possible," said Edward J. Rutkowski, regional director of state parks, adding there were indications the 20-year period was too short to suit prospective developers.

But Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, whose district includes Grand Island, said he is not optimistic that extending the lease period will be enough to attract developers.

"I'd like to be pleasantly surprised," Hoyt said.

But he thinks more sweeteners will have to be added to attract developers to the project.

The proposal to rebuild the casino in a lease arrangement with a private developer is part of the Pataki administration's policy of public-private partnership in state parks.

Developers' proposals are to be opened Dec. 16 at the regional state parks office in Niagara Falls and reviewed by parks officials in Albany, Rutkowski said.

Prospective developers may include space for park administrative offices in plans for the building.

If this option is followed, plans may be included to remodel and operate the current park administration building as a bed-and-breakfast house or conference hall.

Other options which could provide revenue to the developer: use of the park's 10 picnic pavilions and management of the 85-slip marina.

Hoyt said $1.5 million in state funds is allocated for the casino project.

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