Victoryland's closing has residents anxious about its future

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SHORTER, AL (WSFA) - "It's heart-breaking to see that we're at this stage right now," says Shorter Mayor, Willie Mae Powell.

You can see them in the city's seal--racing dogs symbolizing the Macon County Dog Track, and the reason Shorter exists today.

Mayor Powell says track developers needed Shorter 25 years ago. Now, it's the other way around.

"Our town is impacted greatly with what goes on and what happens there."

Then, years later, Quincy's 777 electronic bingo center was added.

"We thought this would bring us economic development and growth and wealth and it's not doing that for us if you're going to close the doors," adds Powell.

Store clerk Tynesia Walker is already feeling the difference with the gaming center closed.

"There's less customers coming in, that means they'll be cutting my hours," she says.

Mayor Powell says the uncertainty surrounding Victoryland's future serves as a wake-up call for leaders in Shorter telling them it's time to get down to business to bring more business to the city.

"We cannot solely depend on Victoryland for all our wants and needs," she says.

Other residents want a quick solution to the legal squabbling.

"Stop letting the politicians send it back and forth between the Attorney General, the task force, the Governor, McGregor.  I think it's time to let the voters decide," says Tuskegee resident, Christopher Ford.

"I do think the people should be allowed to vote. They were allowed to vote to bring it, they should be allowed to vote to keep it," adds Walker.

While Powell believes it should be up to the people to decide, she also says Macon County residents shouldn't have to vote again since they did that years ago.

Her hope is state leaders and the so-called bingo bosses will sit down and come to a solution by simply talking it out.

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