Will ThistleDown decision spark development?

WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS -- Frederick Parks owns the only non-fast food restaurant near the ThistleDown Racino.

News that the racino is staying put brought smiles and elation to him.

"I'm in it for the long haul. So for me, it's very extraordinary, excellent and positive," said Parks, who owns Frederick's Wine & Dine on Emery Road.

Parks says he gets customers coming in to buy drinks when they win or lose at the video lottery terminals or the race track.

He's negotiating a deal with ThistleDown that would bring winners to his restaurant for complimentary meals.

ThistleDown is located in the midst of big, rundown properties.

There's a vacant Holiday Inn. And there's the huge, abandoned Randall Park Mall.

Thistledown's plans for $60 million of improvements could coincide with plans to demolish the mall for an industrial park.

Warrensville heights Mayor Brad Sellers says the ThistleDown commitment may help energize development plans.

"I just think there's a huge opportunity here, and I want to make sure we don't squander it. ... There's been a number of people kicking the tires on proposals for years," Sellers said.

Sellers says North Randall, Warrensville Heights and Cuyahoga County will now try to create a comprehensive development plan.

The location is near the intersection of multiple highways. Sellers sees the possibility of office, retail and manufacturing in the vicinity.


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