Contact(s)

Troy Keeping
Southland Park Gaming & Racing
(870) 735-3670

Glen White, Delaware North Companies
(716) 858-5753
gawhite@dncinc.com

07.12.2007

Southland Park donates $10,000 from new foundation to Parkers’ 8th Street Mission

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (July 12, 2007) -- Southland Park Gaming & Racing, a longtime cornerstone of the West Memphis community, this evening honored the Rev. Fred Parker and his wife, Betty, as the first "Southland Park Community Champions."

The Parkers were recognized for their leadership of the 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ, a non-profit organization that provides an extensive program of services to the community's neediest residents. Since 2003, the Rev. Parker has served as executive director and Mrs. Parker has served as co-director.

The Southland Park Community Champions honor is being established in conjunction with the launch of the Southland Park Community Foundation Inc. The honor and a donation from the new foundation will be presented each year at a summer Community Night event hosted by the gaming and racing venue.

At the inaugural Community Night event this evening at Southland Park's new event center, Southland Park General Manager Troy Keeping and President Barry Baldwin presented the Parkers with a plaque recognizing them as the 2007 Southland Park Community Champions.

In addition, Keeping and Baldwin presented a donation of $10,000 from the new foundation to the 8th Street Mission. About 150 community leaders attended the event.

"We're excited that the foundation is now available to assist community organizations and causes such as the mission," Keeping said. "The Community Nights will be an annual event to recognize important people and organizations in the community for their efforts."

A significant regional entertainment destination and economic contributor to West Memphis and Crittenden County, Southland Park now employs 550 people ? up from 325 a year ago ? since completing a $40 million expansion and renovation in 2006 that added 810 games of skill and other amenities.

The 52-year old racing venue is set to contribute more than $6 million in tax revenue this year to local and state government. In addition, as a result of gaming and racing proceeds and contributions from the new foundation, Southland Park will continue to support worthy causes in the region.

Baldwin, who is retiring at month's end but will continue to work as a Southland Park adviser and representative to the local community, said more donations from the new foundation will be made later this summer to other organizations and causes.

Among the organizations that Southland Park has aided over the years are Mid-South Community College, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Crittenden County, the Boy Scouts of America, the Crittenden County Arts Council, and the Marion and West Memphis chambers of commerce. Since 1990, Southland Park Gaming & Racing has contributed more than $18.4 million to public agencies and private, non-profit organizations.

Baldwin said Southland Park has contributed to the 8th Street Mission in the past, and he and Keeping believed the Parkers and the mission would be ideal recipients of the inaugural Community Champions award and donation.

"The Rev. and Mrs. Parker have been instrumental in continuing the mission's growth, and Southland Park knows how important their work is to the community," Baldwin said. "We hope this donation will assist the mission in continuing its programs and its plans to create a new facility devoted to helping women."

About the 8th Street Mission
The 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that opened its doors in 1984. Since then, a number of properties have either been donated or sold to the Mission and helped it to grow into a helpful community.

Services provided by the Mission include a discipleship program for drug and alcohol addicted men; an overnight shelter for the stranded and homeless; three free meals a day for the hungry; food, clothing, and furniture for homeless and burned out victims; bus and gasoline vouchers for stranded individuals and families; automobile repairs for stranded families; and weekly community worship services. During Christmas and Thanksgiving, meals and gifts are provided for needy families and children.

The Mission now has 10 buildings, thanks to the purchase in 2006 of three new buildings: an extension to the Amazin' Grace Thrift Store, a warehousing area and an extension to the men's dormitory. In addition, the mission features a chapel/dining room, garage sorting building, tool/equipment garage, transitional quarters and business offices, and a "free store" where people who cannot afford clothing in the thriftique are allowed to shop free of charge.

In 2007, the City of West Memphis sold the mission a building at 101 S. Second St. that the mission plans to renovate to become the first facility in the area devoted to helping women, including an emergency shelter.

The Rev. Fred Parker and his wife, Betty, are the third pair to hold the positions of Executive and Co-Directors of the Mission since 1987. They have held this position since 2003. A non-gratis eight-member board of directors provides oversight and community ambassadorship. All labor is voluntary and performed by staff and residents who are in the discipleship program.

The Mission has membership in the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (EFCA) to assure financial credibility in fundraising and record keeping.

About Southland Park Gaming & Racing
The 8th Street Mission for Jesus Christ is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that opened its doors in 1984. Since then, a number of properties have either been donated or sold to the Mission and helped it to grow into a helpful community. 

Services provided by the Mission include a discipleship program for drug and alcohol addicted men; an overnight shelter for the stranded and homeless; three free meals a day for the hungry; food, clothing, and furniture for homeless and burned out victims; bus and gasoline vouchers for stranded individuals and families; automobile repairs for stranded families; and weekly community worship services. During Christmas and Thanksgiving, meals and gifts are provided for needy families and children. 

The Mission now has 10 buildings, thanks to the purchase in 2006 of three new buildings: an extension to the Amazin’ Grace Thrift Store, a warehousing area and an extension to the men’s dormitory. In addition, the mission features a chapel/dining room, garage sorting building, tool/equipment garage, transitional quarters and business offices, and a “free store” where people who cannot afford clothing in the thriftique are allowed to shop free of charge. 

In 2007, the City of West Memphis sold the mission a building at 101 S. Second St. that the mission plans to renovate to become the first facility in the area devoted to helping women, including an emergency shelter. 

The Rev. Fred Parker and his wife, Betty, are the third pair to hold the positions of Executive and Co-Directors of the Mission since 1987. They have held this position since 2003. A non-gratis eight-member board of directors provides oversight and community ambassadorship. All labor is voluntary and performed by staff and residents who are in the discipleship program. 

The Mission has membership in the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (EFCA) to assure financial credibility in fundraising and record keeping. More information is available at http://toouchmagnifique.com

About Southland Park Gaming & Racing
Southland Park Gaming & Racing has been a major racing venue for more than 50 years and now also features 810 electronic games of skill, including video poker, as well as an upscale buffet restaurant, sports bar, and 450-seat event center. Southland Park has long been a pivotal fixture of the West Memphis community, strongly supporting the community with jobs, business stability, and economic contributions. It has consistently won awards for its outstanding community service, including millions of dollars donated to neighborhood charities and educational institutions. Southland Park is owned and operated by Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment. www.southlandgreyhound.com

About Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment
Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment is one of the most innovative gaming and racing operators in the country, specializing in racing venues with added amenities, including video gaming machines, poker rooms, full service restaurants, retail shops and lodging. The company oversees more than 5,500 video gaming machines across the country and operates at seven successful racing and gaming operations in New York, Arizona, Florida, West Virginia, Arkansas and Latin America. To date, Delaware North Companies is one of only five operators of video gaming machines at racetrack locations in New York State. The company is owned by Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and one of the largest privately held companies in the world. www.delawarenorth.com. Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment

About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world's leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International, TD Banknorth Garden, and American Park 'n Swap. Delaware North is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues approaching $2 billion annually and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com.

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