The sound of slot machines may soon ring in the air along the Hunts Point waterfront in the South Bronx if a local politician gets her wishes.
On April 9th, New York State’s new budget was enacted and it provides for three full new casinos and state Assemblymember Amanda Septimo thinks that The Bronx should get one and benefit from the economic boom such entertainment facilities bring with them by way of jobs.
Last month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he was hoping for two of the three casinos to be cited within the city.
In a tweet, Septimo mentioned that she brought the idea to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr, who also represents the area and appears to welcome a casino in Hunts Point with open arms.
Yes! I brought this idea to @Salamancajr80 & local leadership because it could present a major economic opportunity for our community!— Amanda Septimo (@AmandaSeptimo) March 31, 2022
Looking forward to working with operators, stakeholders, local leaders, and @NYCMayor to make a good #BronxCasino happen! https://t.co/4i7hAylZeg
According to the Bronx Times, who reported on this story, Salamanca stated he could see such a facility along with hotels on the Hunts Point waterfront:
“City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr., whose South Bronx district includes Hunts Point, said that while advocating for a casino is not a priority for him, he envisions vacant Hunts Point waterfront property as a good site for one.” reported the Bronx Times
“If I get a call from someone that’s interested in doing this, my ears and my doors are open to hearing them out and making sure that it’s the right fit,” the Longwood Progressive told the Bronx Times. “And if it’s something that could be a reality and my community could benefit from, I will support it.”
And it’s important to note that this isn’t something that is being pushed on the community without input from area residents and stakeholders.
Assemblywoman Septimo has made it clear that the community needs to be a part of this discussion on what they would like to see happen and what it should look like in terms of benefits to residents of Hunts Point who will be the ones directly impacted by such a casino were it to be approved.
One thing is for sure: If this idea were to gain steam and actually happen, the waterfront needs to be accessible to residents who have been cut off from the area due to industry for decades.
If a waterfront site were to be chosen, it needs to be written within the agreement with any operator and developer chosen that a public waterfront park and esplanade must be a part of any deal struck.
With thousands of Bronxites going across the Bronx/Westchester border to Yonkers to gamble away, why not build it here and keep the money locally? But ultimately, that’s a question for the residents of Hunts Point to figure out and answer.