By Victor Milani
Next Tuesday, the doors will re-open on the newly branded MGM/Northfield park facility at what was the Northfield Park/ Hard Rock gaming venue. There will be no large guitars or rock memorabilia left, as the building has been renovated to the MGM motif. The Hard Rock at Northfield Park should be remembered for many things over the past five or so years. Most importantly, the Hard Rock and Brock Milstein SAVED NORTHFIELD VILLAGE. The timing of the founding of the Hard Rock could not have come at a more opportune time. The Village, due to a sluggish economy, the demise of retail at the Plaza, and Northfield Park on a respirator, had caused a constant strain on the Northfield Village resources. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was a daily fiscal fiasco. We survived, but just barely. Just to compare, my last year as Mayor (2011) the Village had a general fund carryover of roughly $300,000. This past year, even after having completed projects on Ledge Rd., new lighting on RT. 8 and the million dollars spent in cash on Cranbrook, the Village still managed to carryover roughly $3.2 million heading into 2019. My budget in 2011 was $3.5 million. This year, due to the influx of Hard Rock generated money, The 2019 budget is nearly $10 million! You can do the math as to what the Hard Rock has meant fiscally to Northfield. The years of running the town on a shoestring are behind us. But let’s be prudent and prioritize how we spend our new found riches!
With more money, come more headaches to the Mayor and Council. After years of neglect due to lack of funds, Northfield infrastructure (lights, sewers, roads, etc.) projects currently are $10 million dollars. A new Northfield Village Town Hall when built, will be at least another $10 million dollars, not to mention residents want better parks. All these improvements can’t happen overnight, and a five/ten year plan should be implemented. Northfield needs to be proactive and less reactive to its growth.
As the Hard Rock becomes MGM/Northfield Park officially on Tuesday, we should not forget the contributions made by former Northfield Park and Hard Rock CEO Brock Milstein, and his family! Milstein, after the passing of his iconic father Carl Milstein, spoke many times over a decade of what legalized gaming could mean not only to Ohio, but specifically Northfield Park. Milstein would work tirelessly, sometimes putting in 70 hours or more a week chasing the dream!. We shared the same dream and passion to get this to be a reality. Personally I spent many hours on TV-radio shows, and state and county levels debating the merits of legalized gaming throughout Ohio, similar to what our neighboring states enjoyed. Milstein and his group spent millions on two ill fated campaigns before it came to fruition. Milstein’s dream unfortunately fell one year too late for me, as I wasn’t fortunate enough win re-election. I can only take credit (with many others) for helping to bring legalized gaming and the Hard Rock to Ohio with Milstein. Northfield could not have survived another two years as a Village without Milstein, Mayor Nehez, and the Hard Rock’s financial additions. I could only imagine what it would be like to operate Northfield with an additional $7 million dollars.
A marker, sign or I dare suggest a statue be erected noting the contribution of Brock Milstein, and his family. People have short memories and sometimes forget accomplishments made. WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET MR. BROCK MILSTEIN!
YOUR LEGACY LIVES ON!