NILES - A meet-and-greet event hosted by racetrack officials to discuss future opportunities drew about 150 contractors and vendors on Thursday.
Penn National Gaming Inc. and Turner Construction Co. used the joint informational meeting at Ciminero's Banquet Centre to focus on local involvement in the planned relocation of Beulah Park in Columbus to a 184-acre site in Mahoning County.
Michael Randazzo, corporate director for Penn National, said this is the first step in a process to get to know the community.
"This is a outreach program that Penn National Gaming and Turner Construction do just to get to know some of the local vendors that are in our neighborhood," Randazzo said. "Today is all about what the vendors have to do to be pre-qualified for construction."
Both Penn National and Turner Construction explained the process for pre-qualification by local businesses for operations ranging from construction of the actual facility to food and beverage services. According to Geoff Moore, project executive for Turner Construction Co., pre-qualifying is the first step and can be done online.
"We have a website - www.turnerconstruction.com - where interested contractors, subcontractors and vendors can go, log on and fill out their qualifications for each of the packages that would be best suited for their organizations," Moore said.
Tribune Chronicle / Ashley Neuman
Bob Hennessey, project executive Turner Construction Co., speaks during Thursday’s outreach event held by Penn National Thursday at Ciminero’s Banquet Centre in Niles.
"Obviously, we have some focus on local business enterprises, minority-owned enterprises and women owned enterprises."
Preliminary site work began in Austintown's Centerpointe Business Park, located off state Route 46, in mid-December. Construction of the planned $125 million facility is expected to last 14 to 18 months. Opening has been projected for 2014.
Local companies will have opportunities to get involved throughout the process.
"Mostly the specifics for today are construction related items and then my group will come in later on once we have an on-staff purchasing department to do local purchasing, whether it be retail items, food and beverage items or supplies," Randazzo said.
"Casinos aren't just one big, gigantic box. If you break it apart, it has several different departments. It could be finance, office supplies, T-shirts or lots of other things."