Peter Chiavetta of Chiavetta's Bar-B-Q says he learned from the fair he had to clear out the building by last Saturday as the building was coming down. His first response was that the lease was good until the end of the year. "Their comeback was 'you're playing hardball?'" recalled Chiavetta. "The story evolved slowly about this, that they were going to push back the food alley." Chiavetta says that itself is not his primary concern; his concern is the length of the next agreement. "What we want is a ten year agreement so we have the same imprint so we know how to come up with the same temporary structure in the same place, and have everything else we need."
Denny Lang is the Erie County Fairgrounds CEO, and explains the reason for the move. "We are widening ten feet at the narrowest point. Their location is not in jeopardy at all," says Lang, as the move is aimed to create more greenspace as well as help with the crowds that can get big. "The building will be taken down along with the lottery building to add more seating as well," says Lang.
Chiavetta suspects there may be another reason for the move. "When we heard conflicting reports on the length of the lease, I started to think there may be something else going on," contends Chiavetta. "We're told the casino's going to be enlarged and Denny pointed at a picture of the casino and said 'the EXISTING casino' and I'm wondering what's going to change."
"Is there a possiblity of expanding the gaming center? Yes," says Lang. "But that depends so much on the state, from legalized casino gambling to the Indian compact west of Route 14." As for the moving of the Chiavetta's building for casino expansion, Lang disagrees. "If we were to expand, would you ever want to drive to the back door? The parking lots established are already in place. If we were going to expand, we'd go toward the South Park side where the old racetrack used to be."