By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO March 30, 2004 Another casino is inching closer to approval.
The proposed Mohawk Mountain Resort and Casino would be located on the property currently being used by Kutshers Sports Academy on Anawana Lake Road in Monticello.
At a presentation on Thursday in front of the Sullivan County Legislatures Casino Committee and other interested citizens, officials from Caesars (formerly Park Place Entertainment) and their lawyers presented new proposals for surrounding roads, as well as their plans for the future.
According to Barbara Garigliano, part of the law firm that represents Caesars, a contract exists between Kutshers, the St. Regis Mohawk tribe and Caesars, which would sell approximately 66 acres of KSA to the Mohawks to be held in trust by the U.S. for a casino. Caesars would then have the option of purchasing an additional 1,400 acres of surrounding property owned by Kutshers, including the hotel and golf course.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the environmental assessments are done, as are wetlands delineations, traffic studies, and archaeological studies. Garigliano said that the Army Corps of Engineers identified 207 acres of wetlands, which will be protected. Garigliano also announced that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs deemed the draft environmental assessment of the project complete, so it was recently made available to the public.
When asked how many environmental assessments were left, Garigliano said that there were a multitude of different approvals that were required.
The three main pieces of the puzzle which are left, according to Garigliano, are:
National Indian Gaming Commission approval of amended management and development agreements.
BIA approval of land and trust application
Town of Thompson Planning Board approval of the land use application
Shelly Johnston, who works for Caesars, said that the company would be turning Anawana Lake Road into a three-lane road. The new addition would be a middle-lane turnoff.
Signals would be set up at the intersection of Frasier Road and Anawana Lake Road, and Caesars would bear the cost of adding the items.
Improvements to Route 42 would be be a combination of public and private financing, said Johnston.
Two right-turn lanes would be added on Route 42, going from the Anawana Lake Road intersection to Route 17s Exit 105 southbound.
Another righthand turn would be added from Exit 105B, heading toward Kiamesha Lake. A traffic signal would also be placed there.
The state Department of Transportation already has plans to make Route 42 five lanes from the Anawana Lake Road intersection to Concord Road.
Garigliano estimated the project to cost $600 million. The casino would be 450,000 square feet with 3,500 video lottery terminals, 100 table games, 750 rooms, about 2,000 theatre seats and several restaurants.
Officials werent ready to predict when construction would begin.