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Paladino leads purchase of Fort Erie Race Track land

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Local developer Carl Paladino says Fort Erie Race Track will stay open as a tourist attraction. He has a say now that he and his partners are buying the entire 338 acres of land from an Israeli firm.

During a news conference Tuesday at the track, Paladino wouldn't be specific about what is planned, but he admits it's in the tourism and hospitality area.

He also wouldn't disclose what his alliance of  the Mosey and Castle families and Fort Erie developer David Kompson paid for the property.

Fort Erie leaders said they were excited after the three years spent putting the deal in place.

"It's huge. It think the most important thing is that they are local people and they understand the dynamics of the area," said Fort Erie Mayor Douglas Martin.

"The only disappointment I have with them today is I was sure they were going to announce this is the new home of the Buffalo Bills."

The race track receives more than $7 million annually in subsidy, a replacement after the province closed a slot machine casino on the grounds. Martin says he wants the province to reverse and re-open the slots to provide that much money directly and restart the 300 jobs the gambling center provided.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.