ThistleDown Racino announced June 12 that the facility will remain at its current Cuyahoga County, Ohio location and will not exercise its state-approved option to relocate to the Akron-Canton area.
The 89-year-old suburban Cleveland racetrack was recently expanded to include video lottery terminals and reopened as a racino in spring 2013. The ThistleDown Racino site straddles the city of North Randall and the Village of Warrensville Heights.
According to a statement, racino owner Rock Ohio Caesars considered its option to move the facility, but ultimately determined that Cleveland's east side is the best location to operate and further expand the facility.
The village, city, and county's desire to make needed infrastructure upgrades and improvements to further develop the area surrounding ThistleDown was a determining factor in ROC's decision to retain and expand ThistleDown in Cuyahoga County, it said. The area has experienced a renewed interest from investors and a significant increase in visitors since the racino opened last year.
Local officials are expected to begin upgrade and improvement plans in the coming months. Those officials praised the decision to keep ThistleDown at its current location.
"We are pleased that our preliminary talks to revitalize the area surrounding the racino played a role in ThistleDown's decision to stay and we are excited to begin working immediately with the various stakeholders to bring these plans to life," said Mayor David Smith of North Randall.
"We are elated to hear the news that ThistleDown has decided to play an important part in the continuous growth of our area," said Mayor Brad Sellers of Warrensville Heights. "ThistleDown, Warrensville Heights, and the surrounding area have a bright future."
"ThistleDown Racino has received a tremendous welcome from Cleveland's east side and from the Northeast Ohio community as a whole," said Marcus Glover, Northeast Ohio senior vice president and general manager of Caesars Entertainment. "We look forward to working with the mayors and county to determine how to further enhance the guest experience at ThistleDown for years to come."
In an agreement with the Ohio State Racing Commission, ThistleDown plans to invest at least an additional $60 million to update and add guest amenities. Over the next several months, the racino said it will explore improvements that will further enhance ThistleDown's gaming and entertainment.
ThistleDown reopened on April 9, 2013 following an $89 million renovation that added a 57,000-square-foot VLT gaming floor, six dining areas, two bars, and Ohio's first outdoor gaming patio.