Meetings & Information


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not Economic Redevelopment

From Niagara --

When the Seneca Niagara Casino opened on New Year’s Eve 2002, it was surrounded by neighborhoods of rotting and dilapidated housing and vacant storefronts lined nearby Niagara Street.

Eight years later, the view hasn’t really changed.

“It’s pretty much what you could have predicted,” said Bryant Simon, director of the American Studies Program in the Department of History at Temple University, and an expert on casinos and urban renewal. “Since the 1970s, we’ve always wanted our urban renewal to be quick fixes.”

Simon said that has led state and local governments to push for the construction of all types of mega-projects like theme parks, aquariums, sports stadiums and, of course, casinos. But Simon, who has written a book on the economic development experiences of Atlantic City, said there are no silver bullets when it comes to revitalizing a blighted city.

“(Niagara Falls) could have looked at Atlantic City, they could have looked at Detroit,” Simon said. “(Casinos) basically destroyed local business in Atlantic City.”

But Simon, the casino expert, warns that waiting for casino-spurred development may only lead to disappointment.

“It doesn’t lead to reinvestment. It’s a bad model for redevelopment, but (cities and states) just keep repeating it,” Simon said. “Who benefits from casinos? The casinos.”

After reading the article above, I purchased Professor Simon's book which is an eye-opening account of what casinos didn't bring to Atlantic City. This is merely a breath-taking snippet - 80% Increase in Crime
Casinos and slot parlors aren't the urban redevelopment or economic engine the proponents would like to pretend.

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