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September 22, 2022 - 1:00pm

Downs' officials set sights on installation of Park Road enhancements; Bills, Amerks suite license pacts extended

The Park Road Reconstruction Project has entered the homestretch and Batavia Downs Gaming officials couldn’t be more pleased.

That’s the word from Henry Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., and the public benefit company’s board at their meeting this morning.

“It's probably 80 percent complete,” Wojtaszek said. “We expect substantial completion by October 17th and hopefully we will have two-way traffic on the street (again) in just two to three weeks.”

Edward Morgan, chair of the Batavia Downs Operations Committee, reported that Nov. 30 is the “targeted” completion date.

He said that trees purchased by WROTB are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow – and will take a week to install – and light poles (also purchased by WROTB) will be delivered next week and installed during the week of Oct. 3.

Morgan also said that the facility will feature two valet parking sites – the current one at the south end and a new one at the main entrance “to accommodate those (customers) staying at the Hotel (at Batavia Downs).

Wojtaszek said installation of the trees and streetlights will be handled by CATCO, the project’s primary contractor, and subcontractors.

“We're excited about the possibility of the completion by the second week in October and we look forward to a completed, beautiful project,” he said.

When asked by The Batavian about parking at the lot of the former Kmart building across the street, he said WROTB’s lease with Benderson Development, owner of the property, has expired and that anyone parking there is doing so “at their own risk.”

However, he did say that there is adequate parking for the events at Batavia Downs, and that he could foresee another lease agreement with Benderson should the need arise for concerts next summer.

On another front, the board extended its suite license with Pegula Sports & Entertainment for the 2022-23 Buffalo Bills football season at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, and a similar agreement with Rochester Arena LLC for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 Rochester Americans hockey seasons at the Blue Cross Arena.

Both contracts were paused in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the passage of a pair of resolutions to extend them. The cost with Pegula Sports is $103,200 and the cost with Rochester Arena is $37,150 for this season and $38,250 for 2023-24.

Wojtaszek said ticket distribution for the suites are handled through the WROTB marketing department “in a very professional, promotional way.”

“It'll be a combination of tickets being given away in a drawing on the (gaming) floor, which improves the attendance on our floor and improves foot traffic throughout the building, and then through the host department,” he said. “They’ll find good players and make sure that they offer them to come in and enjoy the experience at a Bills’ game (or Amerks’ game).”

In a related move, the board approved an annual expenditure of up to $610,000 for various promotional items from Mark-It-Smart, Inc., based in Santa Ana, Calif. Items are purchased on a per-event basis as part of a “continuity program,” Wojtaszek said, and include luggage, cookware, purses, barbecue items, camping equipment, glassware and small appliances.

In other action, the board approved the following resolutions:

  • Contracts with three Batavia-based companies for a telescopic boom lift, marketing mailers and electrical parts and supplies.

Directors authorized payment of $147,000 to Skyworks, the lowest bidder, for a telescopic boom lift, ending the recent practice of leasing the equipment.

“Now’s the time to take that extra step and purchase it and make it cost-effective for the company,” Wojtaszek said. “It's a safety issue. We have a lot of decent sized projects here, including window washing and construction. It was put into the capital plan, and it was in the budget for this year. The board thought it was prudent to go ahead and purchase it, and I agree.”

The board accepted a bid of $115,000 from Applied Business Systems to send out marketing mailers to patrons and potential patrons over the next year, with an option for WROTB to extend the pact for an additional year.

An agreement to spend up to $25,000 with Falcone Electric for electrical parts and supplies was approved through the end of the year.

  • A five-year extension of a contract with IK Systems, Inc., of Victor, at a cost not to exceed $68,444 to provide maintenance and testing services for the facility’s surveillance system.

Wojtaszek said he has been “impressed” with IK’s performance.

“I actually supervise the surveillance department here on site and I interact with them (IK Systems) very often. They are very timely and they're very efficient, So, that’s a five-year contract, sort of at a reduced price because we did it for an extended period of time.”

  • Electric and natural gas contracts with Marathon Power LLC and NOCO Gas & Electric, respectively, through Oct. 31, 2024. Both companies submitted low bids, with Marathon agreeing to supply electric at .0645 per kilowatt hour and NOCO agreeing to supply natural gas at 0.675 per centum cubic feet.

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