Although many residents feel deflated and are disappointed that Raton was chosen over Tucumcari for the last racetrack license, Tucumcari will have to seek out other opportunities, say city leaders.
“We’ll just have to get up, dust off and work on other economic development opportunities,” said Franklin McCasland, who chairs the board of the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp. and the board of the Quay County Gaming Authority.
Patrick Vanderpool, executive director of the economic development agency, said, GTEDC extended its congratulations to Raton.
McCasland said, “Our community really came together. It shows we can be united. A lot of people in the community gave their time and energy to the project.
“I was never so proud to be a county commissioner than that night, when more than 1,400 came out.”
The GTEDC has thanked Don Chalmers, David Vance, and the Coronado Park team for their commitment to the Tucumcari and Quay County area, Vanderpool said. They also thanked Warren Frost and the Quay County Gaming Authority for their hard work in putting Tucumcari’s bid together.
Vanderpool said, “We are, of course, disappointed, but now we move on.” The agency will continue to focus on its campaign to build on wind and water, said Vanderpool, adding that they are “two essential resources we have that many communities across the country long to have.”
“We will continue to look for other economic opportunities,” McCasland said.
The agency will seek industries such as renewable energy, retail development, transportation, tourism, and agriculture, Vanderpool said.
“Frankly, we are at close to full employment, and intend to be selective in the types and size of businesses that we go after. We continue to support the tremendous developments at Ute Lake Ranch and the North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College. The first 300 head of cattle were just delivered to our new cattle feeding operation northeast of town, and construction continues at Route 66 Ethanol.”
After the Labor Day holiday, it’s expected that the Quay County Gaming Authority will call a special meeting, McCasland said.
“It will probably dissolve,” McCasland said. “But the authority will decide what’s best to do.”
David McAfee, a Tucumcari minister who opposed the racetrack and casino on moral grounds, said he thought there could be opportunities for the community other than gambling.