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Pataki Optimistic about Bass Pro and Casino

By Eileen Buckley

Niagara Falls, NY – Governor Pataki helped cut the ribbon on two major economic development projects in Western New York Wednesday. First he appeared at the opening of a new flight research center at Calspan Corporation in Niagara Falls. Later, Pataki attended the grand opening of Geico in Amherst. Both companies are providing a number of new jobs for the region. But questions quickly surfaced about the future of two other proposed projects for the City of Buffalo.

When the Governor comes to town for a public visit, it is impossible for him to avoid media questions on a variety of topics. Wednesday, he was asked out the Bass Pro shop and a Seneca Nation casino. It has been almost one year since Pataki and Bass Pro leaders announced plans to build downtown. Bass Pro originally promised a 2007 opening.

"We have no indication that Bass Pro isn't going to continue with its commitment to locate here in Buffalo," Pataki said. "We're continuing to do everything we can to try and make sure that decision moves forward as quickly as Bass Pro is able to do that."

Pataki says he's confident the company still wants to build near Buffalo's harbor. But he says the state will work to make sure the city remains a critical site for Bass Pro expansion.

Pataki is also expecting a Seneca casino to be built not too far from the Bass Pro site. The Governor says he believes the DL&W Terminal would be best for a casino. But the location is not part of the Seneca's recent purchase of downtown land.

"As you know, they purchased land in that region. Whether it's (DL&W) or something in that area, I'm optimistic that will be the site," Pataki said.

The Senecas are still negotiating with the NFTA for that parcel. As for future casino revenues, Pataki says state and local lawmakers must still negotiate on that matter. But he says it is not just about revenues. Pataki says it is about job creation and excitement of economic development.