No gaming downtown

With Maiden store fronts sitting empty and property owners hurting, the downtown area needs of a facelift.

One town leader says a solution to the vacancies is the possibility of Internet sweepstakes parlors.
“The town needs some kind of revitalization and when state law says Internet cafes have to be in the city limits, why not put them downtown?” said George McClellan, town council member.

 Zoning ordinances recently approved means the store fronts may stay empty.

North Carolina recently changed laws regarding online gaming, and now, each municipality must make a zone available for Internet sweepstakes parlors. Maiden creats buffering zones around schools and churches. The final zoning requirements state that the location of a future Internet Sweepstakes Parlor must be 200 feet from a church as well as 1,500 feet from a school. Those movements mean any Internet sweepstakes parlor locations would end up near east Maiden, not in town and nowhere near many of the empty store fronts.
“Because of church and school locations most of the parlors will be on the outskirts of town,” said City Manager Todd Herms.

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.