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Senecas add tax-free gas, tobacco sales to Niagara Falls land

Tax-free gasoline and tobacco products went on sale Friday at a new Seneca One Stop outside the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.

The Seneca Nation of Indians opened a 24-pump gas station and convenience store on its 50-acre territory in downtown Niagara Falls with an opening celebration by tribal leaders.

The gas station drew opposition and concern from city leaders and competing convenience stores earlier this year when the Seneca Nation first announced plans to build the gas station on sovereign land in Niagara Falls.

The New York Association of Convenience Stores had fought the opening of the store, fearing the untaxed gas and cigarette sales would harm sales of its members' stores.

“Our sovereignty, and the control we have over all Seneca lands, provides us the right to create economic opportunities on our territories,” Seneca Nation President Todd Gates said in a statement Friday. “We will continue to invest and develop all of our sovereign territories, here in Niagara as well as Buffalo Creek, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Oil Spring, because it is our responsibility to the Seneca people to grow our economy and to keep our Nation strong.”

The Seneca Nation was granted control of about 50 acres of land in downtown Niagara Falls under a 2002 gaming compact with New York State that cleared the way for the opening of the Seneca Niagara Casino. The gas station is the latest development on the land, which is about half developed.

The store, located along Niagara Street between John B. Daly Boulevard and Sixth Street in Niagara Falls, will be open 24 hours, seven days a week. In addition to gas pumps and typical retail amenities, the store will have the capacity to add electric energy.

The Nation has been building One Stop stores in its territories since 1986.

The Niagara Falls store, which is among the largest One Stop locations, will employ about 15 people. The Seneca Nation did not disclose the cost of the project.



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