It was with trepidation that I read the latest news about the casino deal being approved for Western New York and Buffalo. A casino is not a tool that leads to economic growth, especially when Buffalo will receive only $7 million to $15 million a year.
Casinos have been shown to suck the life out of the area they are placed in. Buffalo should make sure a casino is not built. The costs associated with a casino and the negative impact that comes with it far outweigh the meager amount of money our city will be receiving.
However, if a casino is built, then it should not be built in the heart of downtown Buffalo. My family and I have been residents of downtown for seven years. My husband and I chose to move into the city from the suburbs. We are happily raising our 2-year-old daughter here and have another child on the way.
We are proud to live in a vibrant, cohesive community where we can walk to theaters, restaurants, Sabres games and our jobs. I have talked to hundreds of people who live in and near downtown Buffalo. None wants a casino steps from their homes. Many are considering moving out of downtown if a casino is put here.
If downtown housing is a priority, then any casino must be built away from downtown. Who wants to raise their family near a casino? Furthermore, I hope that local politicians have learned from the debate over the Peace Bridge. An open, public process must be used when deciding where a casino should be located. Concerns already exist that this is not occurring, because no downtown homeowners are on Mayor Anthony Masiello's casino task force.
Our leaders should "do no harm" and make long-term decisions. Such wise decisions will allow people generations from now to look back and say, "That was the right thing to do - it improved Buffalo."
ELISSA MORGANTI BANAS