West Side Leaders Exicted About Casino and Future Green Developments

on Saturday, 02 March 2013.

Opportunities that the private sector now has

Since opening nearly five months ago, much of the media discussion of the Hollywood Casino in Columbus has centered on the number of people coming through the door and what kind of experience they are having once they do. A group of planners, business leaders and other interested parties gathered at an event on Thursday night to tackle the issue from another angle – how has the casino impacted the neighborhood outside its doors, and what does the future hold for the area? Chris Haydocy, President of Haydocy Automotive, sees the casino as the catalyst for what he hopes is a west side rebirth. Because of that “400 million dollar investment in our backyard”, things are starting to happen now, he said. As one example, he cites an ODOT plan for streetscape improvements along Broad Street; work is now beginning on the project two years ahead of schedule. Haydocy says the project was fast-tracked because he and others were able to persuade 27 property owners along the corridor to donate portions of their land within the right-of-way. He also spoke excitedly of plans for a greenway through the neighborhood – the Camp Chase rail trail is scheduled to be completed by 2014, and students from a Landscape Architecture class at OSU have suggested some innovative ideas for parks and green-space along its length. Former Franklin County Commissioner Dewey Stokes shared Haydocy’s excitement about the greenway and agreed with his assessment on the importance of the casino; “it’s an opportunity; we simply have to take advantage of it.”

You are invited to attend: "The Hollywood Casino Impacts: Planned and Unplanned"

on Tuesday, 26 February 2013.

Urban Land Institute meeting on February 28th at 3895 West Broad

The new Hollywood Casino in Columbus has the potential to jump-start the economic revitalization of surrounding west side neighborhoods. Much planning has gone into assessing, promoting and investing in the impacted neighborhoods by the casino’s developer and west side community leaders. Hear how these impacts have been anticipated and managed, and glimpse into the future of the west side.


Chris Haydocy, President, Haydocy Automotive
Vince Papsidero, Planning Administrator, The City of Columbus
James Schimmer, Director Franklin County Economic Development and Planning
Dewey Stokes, Former Franklin County Commissioner


5:00-5:30 p.m. – Registration and Networking
5:30-6:00 p.m. – Panel Presentation
6:00-7:00 p.m. – Q&A


The web address is http://columbus.uli.org/event/the-hollywood-casino-impacts-planned-and-unplanned/ all of the event details can be found here.


Haydocy Opening RV Dealership on West Side

on Wednesday, 13 February 2013.

Investment will be several million dollars

Haydocy Automotive is hitching up to Airstream Inc.

The Columbus dealership group plans to open Haydocy Airstream and RV Center next to its west-side Buick and GMC dealership by April.

That 15,000-square-foot building at 3865 W. Broad St. and the five acres it sits on will become a dealership for Jackson Center-based Airstream’s travel trailers and touring coaches. Haydocy said the fit is ideal given the overlap with GMC buyers. He said Holman Motors in Batavia has proven that as one of the top dealerships in the state for RVs and GMC trucks.

Also, there’s room in Columbus for a dealership. According to 2012 sales data from Statistical Surveys Inc., only three of the top 20 dealers in the state operate in Central Ohio – Specialty Auto Sales in Lancaster, RCD Sales Co. in Hebron and Tom Raper Inc. in London – and none of them cracked the top 10.

Schimmer asks why not Westland for new outlet mall?

on Friday, 25 January 2013.

Weston district potentially best loction in central ohio

Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department Director Jim Schimmer wants outlet mall developers to look closer to Columbus.

Schimmer wants Westland for new outlet center

The director of the Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department wants developers looking to build retail outlet centers in Columbus to consider Westland Mall or another urban site for their projects.

Jim Schimmer laments that three developers have chosen “green grass” sites several miles outside the Interstate 270 loop for prospective outlet centers, perpetuating urban sprawl in an era of urban redevelopment. Two development groups identified sites at the Route 36/37 interchange on Interstate 71 and a third has shown interest in the Beech Road exit on the Route 161 expressway in Licking County.

“Why doesn’t Westland remain viable for another retail use?” Schimmer asks, noting Penn National Gaming Inc. spent $400 million to build the Hollywood Casino across Georgesville Road from the 860,000-square-foot retail complex that was constructed in 1969.

Prototype store makeover puts Value City Furniture customers first

on Friday, 25 January 2013.

Lacated in Heart of Weston District

Value City Furniture might be an old, familiar brand, but with its young president and prototype store, the retailer is looking fresh and new.

Leading that effort has been Jonathan Schottenstein, president of American Signature, the parent company of Value City Furniture.

Striding through the retailer’s recently opened prototype store on the West Side, the 30-year-old in a pullover sweater and tan slacks looked more like a graduate student than a scion of the Schottenstein retail dynasty.

Businesses say casino area needs a hotel

on Monday, 14 January 2013.

The casino solidified people’s investment strategies

Retailers near Hollywood Casino Columbus say they need more than afternoon or evening gamblers to boost their businesses.

“We need some hotels over there,” said Dayna Sokol, who invested $600,000 to spruce up the Tee Jaye’s Country Place Restaurant on W. Broad Street across from the casino.

“You come to the casino, there’s nowhere to stay,” said Sokol, Tee Jaye’s president.

Parks, Paths Part Of Proposed West Side Columbus Facelift

on Friday, 28 December 2012.

After months of research, a group of OSU students made their final pitch on Wednesday for real life solutions to problems lingering on the west side of Columbus. “The quality and well-being of people is very important, obviously in the west side. Currently, the west side has about 5.2 acres per 1000 people and Columbus deems it adequate green space to have 5.5 acres; and so they have a deficiency there,” said OSU senior Daniel Yontz.

They said that deficiency can be corrected by by taking advantage of a new bike path that's already in the works over the next few years, and ultimately, more green space.The trail itself will follow the rail road tracks, which are close to Columbus’ casino.

Jody Dzuranin, with Consider Biking, is ready to see a completed path on the west side. “So, this is a key section that will welcome people in to Franklin County,” said Dzuranin.

She's excited about the 325 mile trail, which will eventually connect southwest to north east Ohio.
“So there would be recreational trails and then maybe the bike hub,” said Dzuranin.

Now she, along with students, park enthusiasts, and city officials are envisioning its ripple effect. They plan to capitalize on yet another catalyst for the west side's growth. The group said green space and trails can increase home value, attract home buyers and boost people’s health.


Daycare Center Opposes Homeless Shelter Next Door

on Wednesday, 14 November 2012.

COLUMBUS -- Parents and staff members are voicing concerns about plans to open a homeless shelter next door to a daycare facility.The Community Shelter Board expects 200 homeless people to take advantage of the new overflow location on Industrial Mile Road this winter, which will operate directly beside Creative Child Care.

Those associated with the daycare are worried that children will be exposed to loitering and panhandling, among other concerns.Shelter board members told ABC 6/FOX 28 they considered 55 potential locations for the shelter, but the Industrial Mile Road venue was the only one that suited their needs.

In an effort to ease the fears of parents, board members say they've agreed to conduct background checks to identify possible sex offenders, and will attempt to set up warming stations around the city to discourage loitering near the daycare.Creative Child Care's operators have created a website to solicit public support for their effort to block the shelter from opening next door, including suggestions for alternate locations.


Redevelopment project targeting 40 Hilltop homes

on Friday, 02 November 2012.

“The sense of community here is very strong”

Across the eastern half of the Hilltop are 150 houses so fire-damaged or dilapidated that they should be demolished. That’s the assessment of Leah Werner, project manager for a Dayton-area development company that surveyed the neighborhood over the summer. Her for-profit company is working with the nonprofit Homes on the Hill to build or fix up 40 houses in the neighborhood in 2014.

She and Hilltop leaders say they hope that the lease-to-own houses will take shape on those lots.

Steve Torsell, executive director of Homes on the Hill, said he would like to see some houses renovated for the project.

“One of the ideal things would be to take a street and plaster it with a bunch of new houses,” said Geoff Phillips, who leads the Highland West Neighbors Association.

Columbus may share casino tax with Franklin Township

on Monday, 15 October 2012.

Columbus has tentatively agreed to pay the township an average of $760,000 per year

Columbus would share more than $38 million of its future tax revenue from the Hollywood Casino with Franklin Township under a proposed agreement.

Columbus has tentatively agreed to pay the township an average of $760,000 per year for 50 years to compensate for the potential taxes the township lost when the casino site was annexed to the city last year. Some of that money would come from the property taxes Columbus collects from the casino site. The rest would come from a rising share of income taxes the casino and its employees pay to the city over that time.

The payments assume that the city’s income-tax collections from the casino will be $4.6 million annually, according to a township memo detailing the draft agreement. It does not take into account the taxes the casino is required to pay on its revenue by the amendment to the state constitution that allowed it to be built.

Franklin Township is pleased with the plan, said Tim Guyton, trustees chairman, acknowledging that it needs the approval of township trustees and the Columbus City Council.

“We were receiving under $70,000 a year when it was a vacant piece of ground,” he said. “And now you see the numbers. Are we happy? We’re elated.”

Casino emergencies: Medic is nearby if chips are down

on Monday, 15 October 2012.

The public/private partnership seems to be paying off

As Columbus and Franklin County officials worked out the kinks of how to properly police and respond to emergencies at the new Hollywood Casino, the city’s Fire Division decided to call a friend.

“I thought of Chris Haydocy, because he has been very much out there promoting the casino and the West Side,” Assistant Fire Chief Karry Ellis said. “We had no idea what the crowds would be like, so we thought putting a medic out there might be a good idea.”

Haydocy said he “didn’t think twice about saying yes.”The public/private partnership seems to be paying off.

An emergency medical vehicle and firefighters to staff it were installed at the Haydocy Buick GMC dealership at 3895 W. Broad St., next to the casino on Georgesville Road.Last Monday, firefighters responded to eight calls at the casino on its opening day. Five people were taken to hospitals for a range of ailments, from chest pains to shortness of breath.

The response time in each case was about a minute. Two city fire stations are each about 3 miles away, but being so close to a place with so many people better protects the public, Ellis said.

The Fire Division is treating the casino “kind of like an Ohio State football game, (where) we have seven medics for 100,000 people, and here we have one for about 20,000,” he said. “This helps us to be in position to better service them.”

Casino Already Bringing Development And Hope For Future

on Monday, 08 October 2012.

WOSU 89.7 NPR News report

After court battles and a state referendum, the much-anticipated Hollywood Casino opens today on Columbus’ West Side. The people who live and work in the area are betting on the house – to bring a new vibe to the neighborhood that has, for years, been on the decline.

Three years ago the Associated Press dubbed the area surrounding what is now the Hollywood Casino “America’s Loneliest Neighborhood” because of its many empty businesses and homes.

Now the shiny new casino with its elaborate landscaping looks lonely.

If you take a drive down West Broad Street or Georgesville Road today, you still see vacant lots. Next door to the casino’s employment center is a large, empty retail store. Directly across the street is an empty shopping plaza with weeds sprouting from the concrete.

That’s just one of several blighted properties in the area.

But if you look closely, you’ll notice the changes some longtime businesses are making.

“We now have an opportunity to now reinvent ourselves and go from the loneliest neighborhood to the most vibrant, energetic and diverse neighborhood,” says Chris Haydocy, the president of Haydocy Buick-GMC. He says the West Side neighborhood faced a crossroads just few years ago.

Hollywood Casino draws huge crowd

on Wednesday, 03 October 2012.

Hollywood Casino Columbus was buzzing Wednesday as Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ:PENN) worked out the kinks at the $400 million gambling house.

A Tina Turner-like singer in a circa-1980s rock and funk band belted out tunes on the stage at the casino’s O.H. lounge and sports bar while some lucky gamblers loudly celebrated their winning efforts at the roulette and craps tables.

It was all part of a “controlled demonstration” by the casino under the oversight of the Ohio Casino Control Commission. The invitation-only event, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 people, is the final hurdle before the casino’s grand opening Oct. 8.

I scored a VIP ticket to the event and walked through the gaming area after lunch. The place was packed, with long lines at the casino’s Epic Buffet and Take 2 Grill as well at the windows where gamblers signed up for Penn National rewards casino cards.

West Broad Complete Street rennovation to Happen!

on Monday, 01 October 2012.

All the property owners have donated there necessary property rights

Weston Vision Members and Friends
Weston Vision Inc. is pleased to report that after a years’ worth of effort, all the property owners (Broad Street and 270 to 3833 West Broad) have donated there necessary property rights so that a much needed “Complete Street” facelift for Broad Street can begin. Below is  ODOT's letter to Weston Vision.

Weston Vision Inc.                                                  October 1, 2012

It is with great pleasure that I report to you this morning that the Right of Way Acquisition for the subject project is now complete.  We have obtained executed instruments for all 22 parcels/property owners where additional right of way is required.  Furthermore, all property owners DONATED the necessary property rights.  

I want to thank everyone involved for their efforts in helping this important project move forward.  It would not have been possible with the truly amazing partnership between the community, local business leaders and government agencies!


 ODOT – District 6


Home sale prices near Weston district sale price jumps 18 percent in one year!

on Thursday, 20 September 2012.

Keith Orr “I truly believe this will be the next growth area”

West Side real-estate agents have struggled recently to find something to celebrate, but they’re betting on help from the Hollywood Casino.

“Only a couple minutes away from the new casino!” reads one real-estate listing.

“Very close to new $400 million Hollywood Casino!” another says.

And: “Gamble on this house, and you won’t lose!”

In all, about two dozen West Side home listings promote proximity to the casino, due to open on Oct. 8.

Any boost would be welcome for the area, which, more than the rest of central Ohio, was bludgeoned by the recession.

Between the peak housing year of 2005 and last year, average home prices fell about 30 percent in the two ZIP codes nearest the casino (43204 and 43228), compared with about 12 percent throughout central Ohio.

In the same period, the number of home sales plummeted about 40 percent on the West Side, compared with 28 percent regionally.

This year, however, the numbers have improved: During the first eight months of 2012, home sales rose in both casino-area ZIP codes for the first time since 2005.

Prices are climbing, too.

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