The regional director of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs said yes. Now it's on to the next round for supporters of a Beloit casino.
City of Beloit officials will join the Saint Croix and Bad River Chippewa tribes at the Bureau in Washington DC Wednesday. Beloit City Manager Larry Arft says he and others will be going to show how much the community supports the proposed casino.
Sixty-one percent of Beloit voters said yes to the casino in a 2000 referendum. Arft says the city council has repeatedly passed resolutions in support as well. Arft says getting the regional approval of the BIA is huge but showing community backing will be crucial for the officials in Washington.
Why is there so much support? Arft says the casino will be an economic anchor for the stateline area. Construction alone will be a 200-million dollar project providing hundreds of jobs. Once up and running, Arft says there will be 3,000 jobs just at the casino complex alone. That doesn't take into account the other hotel, restaurant, shopping and entertainment businesses that will spring up near the casino.
The biggest hurdle could be getting the governor's approval but Arft says the city has pressed its case to the governor before and if it passes the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, they'll lobby the governor again on the casino's economic impact for the state.