Ho-Chunk Nation Seeks More Land

By: Landon Cassman Email
By: Landon Cassman Email

BELOIT (WIFR) – We've been hearing about Beloit possibly getting a casino for more than a decade. Tonight, there are more signs it will actually happen

It's been three years since Jim Osburne held a full-time job. He now spends most of his time volunteering at the Beloit warming shelter e says to help keep him sane.

"Puttin' something in. It's better than sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself. You know, I like to stay active. I like to do things. In 2005, I was making $70,000 a year." Osburne could start making money again.

The Ho-Chunk nation is requesting to buy an additional 40 acres, near its proposed casino site in Beloit, a casino projected to create 2,000 jobs.

"The more land the nation owns, the more commitment they've made to the site. The more favorable they are to get their review at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. So this might actually help enhance their chances of getting the project ultimately approved,” said city manager Larry Arft.

The Ho-Chunk nation is still waiting for approval from the bureau of Indian affairs. It's a project that's been in the works for years. The tribe bought its first plot in 2009. There are already 32 acres set aside in this field, a field of dreams for the unemployed

"I'm all for it. It's going to bring jobs to a poor community since GM closed down. Try getting a job up here. It's pitiful. And if that can help people, we're all for it,” said Osburne.

The city doesn't expect construction to start at least until the middle of next year.

Arft says the city has owned this land for a pretty long time, and it's been going unused for years. Council members will start discussing the issue in closed session at 5:30 and will then open the meeting to the public for a vote.

Arft says he thinks the city will approve the sale. He says the Ho Chunk nation is willing to pay $45,000 an acre, which is almost $2 million dollars. Were told that's more than what other nearby land is going for these days.

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