Today’s news:

CB 10 hears Aqueduct’s $250M upgrade for first time

Officials from the company that was awarded the contract to install video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track presented their plans for the machines and other amenities to Community Board 10 last week.

Buffalo−based Delaware North had already outlined its plans during a news conference announcing the company’s selection at Aqueduct in November, but it announced a slight tweak at the CB 10 meeting which entails installing the VLTs on the first floor of the horse racing complex instead of the second floor.

The presentation also marked the first time CB 10 was informed of the company’s plans.

“We’re going to transform the facility into something that everyone could be proud of,” said Ron Sultemeier, president of gaming and entertainment for Delaware North.

He said the upgrades at Aqueduct will increase attendance at the Ozone Park track. While anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 people come to Aqueduct for a featured race, such as the Wood Memorial, Sultemeier said, the VLTs and other amenities will draw between 10,000 to 23,000 customers a day.

Aside from some 7,500 VLTs, Sultemeier said the first phase of the project will feature several lounges, a signature bar, cabaret lounge, buffet, food court, Italian restaurant, noodle bar, bakery and a New York−style deli.

He said the $250 million project will bring in 1,000 permanent jobs to Aqueduct and 1,100 construction jobs.

Future development may include a 300− to 500−room luxury hotel, 3,000− to 5,000−square−foot spa, retail shops, additional restaurants, a 3,000−seat event center and a conference center, Sultemeier said.

He said the company is also planning to connect the facility to the nearby A train, which has a one−way stop at Aqueduct. Sultemeier said Delaware North is lobbying the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in an effort to add more year−round stops on the line and to make the stops two−way.

The board also heard from Nigel Manuel, the office manager at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Long Island City office.

Manuel said the office’s employees were already preparing for the 2010 Census by canvassing housing units so the Census has accurate numbers.

He said 1 million Census questionnaires will be mailed out.

“And then the biggest part of all: We got to get the damn things back,” Manuel said.

He said the Census office will be doing outreach to the borough’s various immigrant groups to assure immigrants that the information they give on the forms will be confidential. Manuel said Queens can be under−reported in the Census because of illegal immigrants who fear deportation by filling out the questionnaires.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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