September 2003

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Week of September 28, 2003

Bass Park suitor turns attention to Brewer

Las Vegas developer has option on land for possible racetrack

With negotiations between the Bangor City Council and the Las Vegas developer who wants to overhaul Bass Park entering a fifth month beyond the original May 1 deadline to reach an agreement, the developer is now looking at abandoning Bangor in favor of Brewer.

Capital Seven, the development company owned by Shawn Scott, has an option on land off Wilson Street in Brewer. The company has also announced plans to open its office in Brewer.

Bangor City Councilors are not pleased at the move that could be designed to twist Bangor’s arm to reach a development agreement quickly.

Bangor has been home to harness racing for more than 100 years.

Capital Seven did not tell Bangor officials of its intent to pursue possibly building an entirely new racetrack in Brewer before telling the news media.

If Capital Seven were to build a new racetrack in Brewer, Brewer voters would have to approve the installation of slot machines before Dec. 31, the deadline set by a bill that voters statewide will consider on Election Day. The statewide referendum asks voters whether they approve of slot machines at racetracks that are at least 50 miles apart, if voters in the communities with the racetracks also approve the machines. Bangor voters approved slot machines in the June election.

Capital Seven said it would pay Brewer for the cost of putting the question on that city’s ballot in time for Election Day. The Brewer City Council will meet soon to decide whether to put the question on the city’s ballot.

An option to buy the land on outer Wilson Street does not mean Capital Seven has bought, or is obligated to buy, the land. Bangor officials have said it appears as though the company is merely putting a safety net in place in case the company’s negotiations with Bangor fall through.

“Maybe they’re being extra cautious,” Bangor Solicitor Norman Heitman told the Bangor Daily News. “Maybe they’re being extra paranoid. It doesn’t surprise us.”

Bangor Mayor Nichi Farnham told the paper: “We’ve got the harness racing in Bangor. We’ve got the track. We’ve got the horse folks and the whole history in Bangor. I certainly think [Capital Seven] would look to us.”

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