Oxford named site for proposed casino

Posted Oct. 09, 2008, at 10:14 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:18 a.m.

OXFORD, Maine — Supporters of a proposal to bring a casino to western Maine say the casino and resort would be located in Oxford if voters allow it to move forward on Election Day.

Olympia Gaming of Las Vegas said Thursday it is looking at several pieces of property along the Route 26 corridor in the Oxford County town.

The sites are all around 40 acres in size, and the company hopes to announce an exact location in the coming week, said spokeswoman Pat LaMarche.

The biggest problem in selecting a site has been that so many landowners have come forward with property that might be suitable for the $150 million casino and resort, LaMarche said.

“People keep presenting their property to us,” she said. “And because Olympia’s been at the table for only 3½ weeks, they don’t want to turn away something that might be the perfect site.”

Mainers will vote Nov. 4 on a referendum asking whether a casino should be allowed in Oxford County.

Supporters say the project would stimulate the economy in a region with low incomes and high jobless rates. Critics say it would take money out of the economy and put it into the pockets of out-of-state casino owners.

Olympia Gaming has proposed building a casino and resort that would be built in two phases and include a 300-room hotel, a 30,000-square-foot conference center and 100,000 square feet of casino space that would accommodate table games and up to 1,500 slot machines. Other amenities would include a spa, three restaurants, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Olympia had said previously that it had narrowed its search for an appropriate site to three towns, including Oxford. Oxford selectmen last week passed a resolution in support of the proposal.

LaMarche said the company was attracted to Oxford because of the selectmen’s vote, along with its location along busy Route 26 and its proximity to the Maine Turnpike, about 20 miles away.

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