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Casino Developer Wants To Start Building

As the developer of the proposed West-side casino and the city remain mired in a dispute over whether to annex the property into Columbus, developers say they're on the verge of starting construction. The dispute between the city and Penn National Gaming has dragged on for months. First the developer promised to annex into the city then the company said it wanted some incentives for creating jobs and brining in tax revenue. Speaking on WOSU's All Sides on Tuesday, Penn National spokesman Bob Tenenbaum says now they just want to start building but not in Columbus. "At this point, our goal is to build the casino where it stands it is in Franklin Township. We are not seeking at this point anything from the city or county except the right to have sewer and water service," Tenenbaum says. Penn National has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and city, claiming they've been wrongfully denied those services. The company this week hired a lead contractor, and Tenenbaum says they could get the green light to seek building permits as soon as this week. That's good news for Walt Workman he's with the AFL-CIO and directs the Central Ohio Labor Council. "Well we look at it like what this is going to do is create jobs, that's the bottom line, and we all know how devestating the economy is today," Workman says. The project is expected to create 3,500 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs. The casino is still tentatively scheduled to open late next year.