Utica (WUTR-TV) -- Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri is keeping a close eye on the future, especially as there’s talk of a riverboat casino coming to Utica.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans earlier this year, pushing for three casinos in Upstate New York to generate tourism and some Utica officials say the Utica Harbor would be an ideal location.
"The harbor and the casino can be reached by car, by bus, by boat, or by train,” explained Mayor Palmieri.
The mayor says the Utica Harbor is centrally located and the riverboat could use waterways to share the casino with neighboring cities.
“It benefits not only one region, but multiple regions, which I think is exactly what the Governor is trying to accomplish,” Mayor Palmieri continued.
"The Mayor has a sense of priority for the community and if this is one of his initiatives, I think we're willing to help him position Utica to at least put a compelling case on the table there,” said Mohawk Valley Edge President Stephen Dimeo.
Whether or not the riverboat casino becomes a reality, Dimeo says there are many features that make the Utica Harbor a marketable location.
"This is just one part of the equation and it’s something that he raised as what he sees as an opportunity and let's see where it goes,” Dimeo continued.
If the city plays its cards right, the riverboat casino could end up in Utica. However, some area residents have mixed feelings about the proposed casino.
“It would be good for the economy, good for jobs…I think it would keep some of the business here,” said Oneida County resident Kimberly Fulmer.
“It would help the area for jobs and bringing in business, but wouldn’t be for a casino with one 30 miles away,” said another county resident Todd Ferri.
Our region is already home to two casinos. The owner of the Vernon Downs Casino says he’s not happy with the mayor’s proposal.
“It would put Vernon out of business. I don’t think it would put Turning Stone out of business, but it would certainly hurt them. From the standpoint on jobs, you’d basically be creating jobs in Utica and eliminating jobs at Turning Stone and Vernon,” argued Vernon Downs’ Owner Jeff Gural.
Again, the amendment allowing casinos in New York must be approved again by the State Legislature and then, voters must approve it in referendum.