Hot Springs city board votes in favor of continuing Oaklawn expansion

HOT SPRINGS (KATV) - The Hot Springs Board of Directors voted 6-1 Tuesday night to continue construction on the Oaklawn Racing and Gaming expansion. The expansion would increase electronic gaming by 50 percent.

Preliminary construction on the $3 million expansion had already begun, but was halted after a citizen appealed the city-approved project because of parking problems and claims that local business downtown would lose money because of Oaklawn's cheap food prices.

The city planner said that Oaklawn is only required to have 749 parking spaces but already has 2,000 for the public and nearly 4,000 if jockey and worker parking is included.

"The most important thing is this is a great attraction for our community," said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. "I talk to restaurant owners; we have a lot of new restaurants opening up every day. You talk about the downtown area or you look at Fat Jack's or the Superior Bath House, incredible new restaurants opening, we have three hotels relocating here right now, and why is that? A lot of it has to do with Oaklawn."

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