BATAVIA – The president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. says he is confident that the company’s bid to close a portion of Park Road will move forward thanks to a favorable second traffic study report.
“We have just received the enhanced traffic study and it concludes there would be no negative impact on traffic based on the closing of Park Road,” Michael D. Kane said following a WROTB board of directors meeting Thursday at Batavia Downs Gaming.
The most recent evaluation was requested by the Town of Batavia in tandem with the City of Batavia and the state Department of Transportation. It looked at streets and intersections covering a greater distance away from Batavia Downs, including Route 98 (Oak Street) and Route 63, at Veterans Memorial Drive.
The Downs is located on Park Road – between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue, about a mile from the state Thruway interchange.
Kane noted that the report also explores the possibility of putting in a road that, in effect, would connect Richmond Avenue to Veterans Memorial Drive and the Towne Center shopping plaza.
Kane said he is sending the report to the corporation’s engineer for review, and will forward it to the town and city next week.
Last June, Downs’ officials brought up the idea of closing a portion of Park Road to traffic – about 150 feet south of Richmond Avenue and about 850 feet north of the intersection of Route 63 – with the thinking that it would make it safer for patrons crossing Park Road from the parking lot to the facility’s entrance.
Since then, they have been working with the town to make this happen. The Town Board has voted to act as “lead agency” on the environmental review of the matter.
The plan to close Park Road has drawn criticism from numerous city residents. Several have spoken out against it at City Council meetings and more than 50 people attended a community forum dealing with the subject earlier this month at the Holland Land Office Museum.
Those opposed have said they believe traffic will be significantly increased on roads running parallel to Batavia Downs, such as Redfield Parkway, Bogue Avenue, Woodrow Road, Kingsbury Avenue and Vernon Avenue.
Kane also reported that construction of the privately owned Batavia Downs Gaming Hotel is progressing, with the fourth story being completed this week and the roof expected to be completed within a couple weeks.
“Our expectation is that the hotel will open no later than the first of August,” he said.
In other developments:
• The WROTB board announced that harness racing purses will increase from 5 to 7 percent next season due to increased profits by the corporation. The first night of racing is set for July 25.
• Batavia Downs Gaming received approval for another 31 new video games, upping its total to 823.