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The Thistledown racino in North Randall officially opened to the public on April 9 as the state's second racino. It features about 1,150 slot machines. Plain Dealer columnist Mark Naymik said that the new facility is designed to appeal to a different audience than the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland. A relocation to the Green area in Summit County remains a possibility.

Construction of the racino at Thistledown racetrack in North Randall is nearing completion. It's scheduled to open this spring, and will feature a 57,000-square-foot gaming floor plus multiple dining and nightlife options. A relocation to the Green area remains a possibility.

In Summit County, construction of the racino at Northfield Park began in January, and its owners submitted a license application to the state. The racino, a partnership between Northfield Park and Hard Rock International, will be called Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. They expect it will open in December. The work at the two racetracks is part of a statewide trend.

Rock Ohio Caesars unveiled plans for an $88 million upgrade of its Thistledown racetrack in North Randall. The company plans to add 1,150 video lottery terminals, a restaurant, two food courts, and a lounge. The Ohio Casino Control Commission approved the financing for the renovations. Company representatives said that they've made no determinations about a possible relocation, and that no decision was imminent.

In Summit County, residents in Green will vote on a charter amendment that would ban gambling in the city. Rock Ohio Caesars has the option to relocate Thistledown to a location within a 12-mile radius of the Akron-Canton Airport in Green. Meanwhile, Northfield Park submitted plans to the Village of Northfield for a 200,000-square-foot expansion of its facilities.

Update: the Plain Dealer described the issues in Green.

A Franklin County judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the installation of slot-like machines at Ohio racetracks, clearing the way for the state's first racino to open at Scioto Downs near Columbus. Rock Ohio Caesars can install up to 2,500 terminals at Thistledown and reached an agreement with the Kasich administration that allows the company to relocate the racetrack. The agreement (PDF) says that the new location must be within a 12-mile radius of the Akron-Canton Airport in Green. Officials in Northfield anticipate a financial windfall from the creation of a racino at Northfield Park.

In an effort to avoid competing with the downtown Cleveland casino, Rock Ohio Caesars may move Thistledown racetrack from North Randall to the Akron area. A site in Green near the Akron-Canton Airport is a possibility. The Kasich administration is considering the proposal. The company acquired Thistledown in 2010, and last year said there were no plans to move it.

Update: Mayor Norton of Green said that he is not supporting or opposing the project. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that casinos won't "make a significant impact on economic development in the long run".

The Cuyahoga County Department of Development posted the Randall Park Mall Redevelopment Plan, a document prepared by Larry Finch for the Devland Group.

South African developer Neill Bernstein elaborated on his plans for Devland City, his proposed redevelopment of Randall Park Mall. The closed North Randall shopping mall would become a mixed-use facility for offices, manufacturing, distribution, and events, but not retail. He is scheduled to acquire the mall and two of its anchors in December, and he intends to use it as a model for redeveloping other malls across the country.

Devland Holdings signed a contract to buy Randall Park Mall in North Randall. The company plans to redevelop the mall as a mixed-use project that would include light industry and research and development space.

CNNMoney.com used North Randall as an example of the social and economic impacts of a declining mall. The article quotes Peter Lawson Jones as saying that the Village "could become the first municipal fatality in North Ohio" if it is unable to revitalize Randall Park Mall.

The Village of North Randall is facing financial adversity caused by the decline of its commercial areas. It was designated a situational distressed community and is receiving assistance from the the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office. If conditions do not improve, the Village may need to merge into a neighboring community.

The sale of Randall Park Mall is not proceeding as expected. Mayor Smith of North Randall said that "Cincinnati United Contractors is still involved, but at this point it's hard for me to say at what level - if it will be a significant level or if it will be a minimal level." Officials also asked the state to designate the Village as a situational distress area, which would give it priority in state loan and grant programs.

A Cincinnati company signed a contract to purchase Randall Park Mall for an undisclosed price. The company plans to keep the mall open while it explores ideas for redeveloping the property. Redevelopment possibilities include schools, medical businesses, offices, hotels, or retail.

North Randall officials are preparing for the financial repercussions from the impending closure of Randall Park Mall, which accounts for 33% of the Village's general fund. Mayor Smith asked the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office for assistance with late-night patrols.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that this is "a textbook case of why we need" a regional approach to governing.

Randall Park Mall will close on June 12, although the anchors with exterior entrances will remain open. Mayor Smith of North Randall views it as an opportunity for redevelopment. Meanwhile, consultants for the Euclid Board of Education raised the possibility of turning Euclid Square Mall into the Euclid Educational Center.

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