The Hot Springs Board of Directors voted Tuesday to allow Oaklawn Racing and Gaming to go ahead with its planned expansion, according to an Oaklawn Spokesperson.
The Board voted 6-0 in favor of the original plans, with Mayor Ruth Carney abstaining from the vote.
Preliminary construction on the three million dollar expansion at Oaklawn has already begun, but it was halted after a citizen appealed the city-approved project because he cited parking problems and local business down town would lose money because of Oaklawn’s cheap food prices.
The city planner said tonight that Oaklawn is only required to have 749 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. 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,” Steve Arrison, the CEO of Visit Hot Springs said.