CUMBERLAND — Local labor and contractors will play an important role in transforming Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort into a casino and then building additional conference space, said Tim Cope, the president of Lakes Entertainment.
Cope met with members of the Allegany County legislative delegation in Annapolis on Thursday. Evitts Resort LLC, which owns the lodge and resort, is a subsidiary of Lakes. The lodge and resort are located in Rocky Gap State Park.
When asked by Delegate Kevin Kelly and Sen. George Edwards about construction plans, Cope said employment levels would vary depending on the work under way.
About 50 construction workers would likely be on-site daily through the construction period, Cope estimated. Cope said every effort would be made to use local contractors and local workers.
Kelly said he didn’t want to see lots of out-of-state license plates on contractors’ cars and trucks during construction.
“We have pushed our contractors and subcontractors to use local labor when possible,” Cope said.
Edwards said he was told that members of local unions were already working at Rocky Gap.
While the casino will likely be open by June, the conference space will not be ready until the fall, Cope said.
“The majority of it is new construction(rather than renovation),” Cope said.
Kelly pressed Cope on whether a stand-alone slots and gaming emporium might be developed as originally discussed when the company was competing for the slots license last year.
Cope said it remained possible, but was not planned for the time being. The license allows for up to 1,500 slot machines.
Conference space lost at the lodge to make way for gaming operations will be increased beyond what is currently available at the lodge and conference center, Cope said.
Allegany County commissioners were also briefed on construction plans Thursday.
Commissioner Bill Valentine said the Rocky Gap plans would be a boon to the county.
“I am delighted to confirm that the requested conference room square footage has been guaranteed ... these amenities provide the essential space to support Rocky Gap's continued presence in the conference target market,” Valentine said.
Much work went into the process, Valentine said. Valentine made his comments at Thursday evening’s county commission meeting.
“Here is a successful example of the ongoing, behind the scene efforts of our board in 2012 to work to improve and enhance Allegany County,” Valentine said.
Contact Matthew Bieniek at firstname.lastname@example.org.