Fort Erie Kicks off Season

May 4, 2012 Updated May 4, 2012 at 8:07 AM EDT

By WKBW News

May 4, 2012 Updated May 4, 2012 at 8:07 AM EDT

The racing season kicks off at Fort Erie Race Track Saturday, May 5. It's the 115th year of the historic track. Unfortunately, it faces financial struggles. A report in today's Business First says it once attracted more than 10,000 people a day to its races, but now crowds typically reach about 2,400. The track has been hurt by other forms of gambling. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. shut down the Slots at Fort Erie on April 30th. Now officials are lobbying to keep the slots as a private operation, whose revenues would underwrite the track. This summer, 58 events are planning to boost attendance. Many people don't want to see the track close. It is the town's largest employer and it still has a huge economic impact.

In Niagara County, the AES Corp. power plant in Somerset is not producing power and that could eventually hurt schools and taxpayers, according to a report in today's Business First. Bondholders are taking over as Somerset Cayuga Holdings. Later this month, the Niagara County IDA will vote on reductions to a PILOT program where the company makes "payment in lieu of taxes." The town supervisor says he's optimistic that things will turn around for the plant within three years.

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