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Lawrence Downs Progress Threatened

Published: December 2, 2015 1:25 pm ET

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It appears as though the process to bring the proposed Lawrence Downs – the one-mile harness raceway in Pennsylvania – to fruition is not going as smoothly as it was initially thought just a few weeks ago.

According to a report by the Pittsburgh Tribune, John O'Riordan, an attorney for the proposal’s main financial backer, Joseph Procacci, has been quoted as saying that an “arbitrary deadline” could derail the process.

On November 20, necessary documentation relating to the proposal was submitted to the state gaming control board, but O'Riordan’s comments call for “common sense” to be utilized to ensure that the proposal does not fall through at this point.

“This project has been going on so long, to kill it now because of some arbitrary deadlines doesn't make sense,” O'Riordan was quoted as saying. “We're hoping common sense takes over here.”

The report explains that, on November 25, Procacci’s team filed a motion for reconsideration in regard to the deadlines that have been set by the state’s harness racing commissioner, Jonathan Newman. A spokesman with the state’s department of agriculture has said that Newman cannot comment on the situation, due to the appeal process.

The report explains that the Lawrence Downs proposal involves two licences – a harness racing licence and a casino licence. O'Riordan has said that, in terms of the Lawrence Downs proposal, those two licences are “tied at the hip,” and that financing for the project is dependent on both of those licences being awarded for the racino to become a reality.

O'Riordan has said that the deadlines that have been laid out are “absolutely unworkable and untenable.” He has also been quoted as saying that the notion that the harness track and the gaming licence are tied at the hip have been completely ignored. He was quoted as saying, “Financing cannot be had for one without the other.”

(With files from the Pittsburgh Tribune)

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