Barden To Keep Promise

Published on: May 1, 2008 

Casino head Don Barden promised the Hill District in Pennsylvania $3 million to spur development in the area, and he intends on keeping his word.  However, his money is not going to be used in the area closest to the new hockey arena.  Instead he intends to use the money to help fix up the area ‘further and deeper’ inside the Hill District, leaving the twenty-eight acres of land the Penguins hockey organization alone and allowing them to develop it as they see fit.

Barden is hoping to see changes in the area within the next five years, the proposed timeline he gave to county and city officials.  His Majestic Star Casino is due to open in the North Shore area and he has stated that engineers, architects, and designers would be brought in to help develop the Hill District area with the money he has pledged.  Originally he planned to withdraw his commitment because of the twenty-eight acres owned by the hockey team, but he decided instead to help another area that is in need of repair.  The original commitment was based on allowing Barden to develop the acreage, but he sent the gambling board a petition requesting a move.

The Majestic Casino is set to open in May 2009 and there are already plans in the works to build a formal ballroom and amphitheater on the complex sometime within the first three years of operation.  State legislatures, however, are complaining about the delay of the ballroom and amphitheater simply because the casino development was chosen over the others due to Barden’s accelerated development schedule.  They felt that these were competitive edges and when combined with Bardens’ slots gaming license, the area would see much needed economic development sooner rather than later.

There had also been some concerns over the cost of the casino and whether or not Barden would have the funds to pay for it.  Barden assured everyone concerned that there was nothing to worry about and that everything would be resolved.  The ground for the casino was broke in December of 2007 and he does not see any reason why it will not open on time.  Barden’s supporters in the manner have claimed that he has been very adaptive every time the gambling board has made a request of him and that they would write letters in his before supporting the petition he made with the board regarding the changed timetable on the amphitheater and ballroom.

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