Wed 1 pm: Austintown track delayed

AUSTINTOWN – Approximately $4 million in contracts that were expected to be awarded this week for the start of construction at the planned Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley Race Course here will be delayed after the Ohio Race Commission this morning set new demands on seating at the facility.

For the third consecutive week, the commission delayed voting on whether to allow the racing license to be transferred to Austintown, this time ordering the track’s owner, Penn National Gaming to redesign the seating arrangements in order to accommodate about 1,200 spectators indoors.

Bob Tenenbaum, spokesman for Penn National, said the decision means the company must literally “go back to the drawing board” and redraw architectural plans to accommodate additional seating. He said the company’s architects have indicated that could take another four to six months before Penn National will be ready to go back to the race commission to seek approval.

Tenenbaum described Wednesday’s action as “disappointing,” but said it is too premature for the company to comment on whether the changes, increased cost and delays might weaken their overall commitment to the project.