Casino in Shabbona?

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

A Native American tribe that runs a casino in Kansas announced their purchase of land in southeast DeKalb County. The tribe bought 128 acres of farmland near the town of Shabbona. The wards sold the land for nearly $9 million.

"We have reacquired a small piece of original homeland that our ancestors lived on," said Tracy Stanhoff, tribal chair.

Members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi nation would not confirm if they want to build a casino on the site.

"If it's within federal requirements and federal standards, that's not out of the question," said Stanhoff.

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation was forcibly removed from this land more than 150 years ago. Many local residents say they should honor their reacquisition of the property by restoring it to its natural state, not by building a casino.

"If they were honoring their past they'd do something environmentally, natural like the way it was," said Shabbona resident Kelly Nehring.

"Rest assured the tribe is maintaining the land and it will be farm land for now," said Stanhoff.

But some Shabbona residents would welcome the economic benefits of a casino.

"It’s going to be a good thing for the community. It's going to build it up and add revenue back into it and provide jobs, which I'm looking for one," said Shabbona resident Marsha Broude.

The tribe chair says they're exploring several options for economic development and preservation of their heritage. She says they're working with U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He tells 23 News he would have concerns about any proposed casino in Shabbona.

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