Dover Downs isn’t rolling the dice. It’s preparing for new gaming now.
Even with passage of legislation to bring table gaming to Delaware, residents face a wait of at least four months before pluncking their chips down on any schematic of green felt, says Ed Sutor, president and CEO of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
“Training for black jack dealers takes 12 weeks, and 16 weeks of training are required for craps,” says Sutor. “We’ll hire approximately 750 dealers for all shifts, and there are also executives, directors and shift managers to be hired as well.”
Sutor did not wait for the green light from the state Legislature to begin the prep work, however. He is working with the state departments of labor and economic development to direct federal stimulus money toward offsetting the cost of dealer training, which can run anywhere from $1,200 to $1,600 per dealer.
“We’re also working with Delaware Technical and Community College to set up the dealer training programs and with consulting groups to write regulations governing the games themselves,” he says.
Table gaming is labor-intensive, which is good news for employment in the state. Sutor, who spent 20 years in Atlantic City before moving to Delaware 10 years ago, says one big advantage that Delaware has for gaming is a pool of people who are naturally friendly.
“The temperament here is the state’s best asset,” he says. “Administration and supervision is so much easier here because people are simply nicer. They’re easier to train, and they understand what good customer service is all about.”
Page 2: Home Field Advantage | Kent looks to Milford for a new athletic complex that will become an economic boon to the county.
Kent looks to Milford for a new athletic complex that will become an economic boon to the county.
After losing out on one too many opportunities to host a major sporting event due to a lack of venue, Kent County is going for the gold. The Delaware Sports Commission formed in 2009 to recruit so-called long field tournaments for the county. That could mean more lacrosse, field hockey and soccer tournaments.
“We’re in our infancy,” says Cindy Small of Kent County Tourism. “But the county holds a long-term lease on 90 acres along [Del.] Route 1 near Milford. The plan is for a sports complex offering 14 fields to attract out-of-state sporting events.”
The county is shooting for a ready date of 2012 or 2013. The complex should provide a trickle-down for shopping and retail, in addition to complementing meeting and convention business.
Small estimates that two or three sports tournaments a season could generate a local economic impact of up to $3 million. “Our Tournament of Bands back in 2007 brought in $3.5 million,” Small notes, indicating the sports complex revenue estimates might turn out to be on the conservative side.
Page 3: Flower Power | Floral imports are big business–and one likely to spin off unique benefits to air travelers.
Floral imports are big business—and one likely to spin off unique benefits to air travelers.
It may surprise some to learn that the Central American nation of Colombia has approached Kent County as a destination for its seasonal flower export business. But Colombia already does about $1.2 billion a year in trade with Delaware, so it knows more about Kent County than one might think.
“They are a big exporter of seasonal flowers into the United States beginning from Valentine’s Day through Easter,” says Dan Wolfensberger of the Central Delaware Economic Development Council. “They currently are using New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, where the fees are much higher than they would be here.”
The county is looking to house the import operation at the former Sunroc Building in the Kent County Aero Park. “It’s a 225,000-square-foot building, which would provide a distribution center for the flowers that would be reshipped to major wholesalers in southern New Jersey,” Wolfensberger says. “It would also permit us to export items of our own back to Colombia and South and Central America.”
In addition to developing a significant trade center, the CDEDC is working to provide commuter flights on Evergreen Airlines, which handles cargo shipments on behalf of the military at Dover Air Force Base. Wolfensberger says the CDEDC is working with the U.S. Economic Development Administration to provide the $5.5 million needed for the renovations to accommodate Evergreen.
Page 4: Let the Sun Shine In | A high-energy project will make Dover a leader in solar power.
A high-energy project will make Dover a leader in solar power.
When completed, Dover’s Sun Park will be the largest solar energy field in the Northeast—and make Delaware a national leader in green energy.
“News of its development has attracted solar panel manufacturers from as far away as Africa,” says Bill Neaton, economic development manager for the city of Dover. “By the end of 2010, Dover will be generating 10 megawatts of solar power, enough to provide the energy needs of 1,700 homes.”
The park is an initiative of Dover City Council’s 2030 Committee, which formed to meet the anticipated power needs of the city by the year 2030. Requests for proposals went out in 2008. New York City-based LS Power was the successful bidder on the $40 million project. Ground will be broken at the 381-acre city-owned Garrison Tract on White Oak Road this spring. The first megawatt of solar energy is expected to flow from the park by the end of the year.
According to Neaton, the benefits of solar power generation go beyond providing clean energy to Dover residents, businesses and other power companies that will help distribute electricity from the solar park. In addition to attention from businesses around the world, companies with green-energy initiatives in their business models will also be attracted to Dover.
The solar park will operate on 80 acres of the Garrison Tract. The photovoltaic panels will be visible to travelers on Del. 1. Joe Gorberg, LS Power’s senior vice president for renewable energy, says the project is one of several solar installations LS has developed.