Three years ago Beloit voters approved a plan to build a casino in their city. Now, the project moves closer to becoming a reality. City leaders say it's a small step, but a step in the right direction.
Bad River tribal leaders want to build a casino on this plot of land off I-90 in Beloit. Voters supported the plan about three years ago and now an environmental assessment has been released on the issue.
"I think it means after a really long time with seemly no progress that we have tangible signs that the project is moving forward," says Terry Monahan, City Council president.
A Minnesota consultant says the casino could create 5,000 jobs and an $8 million jackpot for stateline businesses.
"People going and leaving there certainly have the potential to stop in our community, buying gas or stopping for lunch," says Mayor Dale Adams.
But the assessment also warns of increased traffic in the area.
"There will be some opposition because whenever you have a gambling issue there's some opposition," says Monahan
While city leaders are excited to see some movement on the project, they're not betting on the casino opening anytime soon.
"This is a step in the right direction but we really don't know the outcome. We're being optimistic but we don't know exactly what were up against," Monahan adds.
A copy of the environmental assessment is available at the Beloit public library. The Bureau of Indian Affairs will accept comment on the document for the next 30 days. Monahan mentioned the challenge ahead, what other hurdles does the project faces financial challenges and it still needs approval from Wisconsin's governor and federal officials before construction on the $175 million casino can begin.