By Rick Haverinen
OXFORD — The Planning Board tabled a decision Thursday night on a proposal to expand the Oxford Casino by adding a hotel, a 275-seat multipurpose room and doubling the restaurant and bar capacity.
Civil engineer Robert Berry of Main-Land Development Consultants in Livermore Falls handed board members a document outlining the expansion.
“This is a tremendous amount of information to digest here,” board member Dennis Fournier said. “I need time to read this so I can make an intelligent decision.”
Berry said the rendering he displayed to the board is still being revamped with some floor plan decisions still to be made, “but this is pretty close by this point.”
The project is being advanced by Churchill Downs, which bought the Route 26 gambling enterprise in 2013 for $160 million.
Berry said the expansion would include a 106-room hotel on three upper floors, “plus an expansion of the casino floor space, a doubling of their restaurant and bar capacity and the addition of a 275-seat multipurpose room.”
The casino and multipurpose room would be on the first floor.
Berry said the owners “are proposing expansion in two directions. One is a small office expansion off the north side of the building, to house back-of-house operations, administration, human resources, that sort of thing. The south side would include the other additions.
Berry said the company would like to begin construction in August with a possible “soft opening” in April 2017.
The board voted to table a decision on accepting the project until the next meeting May 12.
Board member Gerald Nicklaus expressed concern that there might not be enough market to make both the casino hotel and the hotel already under construction across the road successful.
In other business,
* Steven Roop of Auburn received approval for his sixth Roopers Beverage and Redemption Store on Route 26 across from Oxford Hills Funeral Services. Ena Derenburger, sales manager for Turn Key Homes, said that company would provide the construction.
* The board accepted two residential projects: Tim Worden will replace a camp on Paradise Lane with a new home on the west shore of Thompson Lake. And Martha and Bill Booth will expand their cabin at the end of Kohut Road on the east side of the lake.