Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 against a card room application for the proposed JaiAlai fronton at Exit 451, I-75 and US 129 S.
"We will not now be proceeding with all due haste to complete the project. Our planning (time frame) strategy will have to be re-visited in light of the negative approach taken by the commission," stated Richmond Entertainment CEO and fronton developer Glenn Richards. Richards was obviously disappointed with the outcome of the commission meeting, as well was the over-flow crowd of residents in the boardroom at the Courthouse.
Commissioners Leon McGauley and Lewis Vaughn saw no reason to deny the application (card room) and voted for what they considered to be, "positive for growth, development and employment opportunities for Hamilton County residents in need of jobs." The two commissioners listened intently to the presentations made - relative the card room application - from a cross-section of creditable citizens of business, civic, official and private identity, asked pertinent questions, and then voted - Yes!
Commissioners Ronnie Morgan, Randy Ogburn and Mike Adams voted - No! As the votes were tallied, it appeared difficult for the public in attendance to comprehend what they had just witnessed at the regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners last Thursday. The public was visibly stunned!
Richards' presentation before the commission was concise, clear, detailed and informative. He answered questions and made a convincing plea for jobs that would be forthcoming through the overall development. He politely reminded the commissioners that the card room footprint was nothing new to the commissioners. It was addressed as a possibility several times at the onset of the JaiAlai proposal and subsequent approval by the voters in October of last year.
The presentations during the board meeting, indicated that the public, voters, residents and taxpayers were still in concert with gaming.
Ogburn led the charge at the meeting with his negative vote. Adams' input was practically nil and Morgan asked for additional information.
After discussion, Chairman McGauley called for a motion to address Richards' card room application. Vaughn followed the desire of the public in attendance, and placed the motion for approval. No second was forthcoming. In a bold move by McGauley, he excused himself as chair, relinquishing to vice-chair Morgan, and then forwarded Vaughn's motion with a second. A vote was called for, and, Adams, Ogburn and Morgan voted No.