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Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Delaware Tribe pulls up stakes

Casino proposals for Leavenworth County go nowhere

May 9, 2001

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The Delaware Tribe of Indians may have lost its bet that it could locate a new casino in northeast Kansas.

Since the proposed casino met opposition in Lawrence last year, the tribe has expressed interest in locations in Leavenworth County.

After the Delaware Tribe's proposal for a casino and hotel complex
was rejected in Lawrence, the tribe tried to sell its plans in
Tonganoxie and Basehor. Both of those Leavenworth County towns have
also defeated the idea.

After the Delaware Tribe's proposal for a casino and hotel complex was rejected in Lawrence, the tribe tried to sell its plans in Tonganoxie and Basehor. Both of those Leavenworth County towns have also defeated the idea.

City officials in Basehor and Tonganoxie either have decided against the idea or postponed consideration indefinitely. Leavenworth County officials say they haven't talked with tribe officials for several weeks.

The tribe had been targeting two possible sites in Leavenworth County for a casino, hotel, gift shop, and, possibly, a museum.

Tonganoxie City Administrator Chris Clark said Mayor John Franiuk asked the city council to delay any discussion of the casino issue at the last council meeting. Clark said the request apparently came from Michael Pace, economic development director for the Delaware Tribe.

"We're in an indefinite postponement period," Clark said.

At last month's public hearing, Clark said, a majority of the audience spoke against the casino.

Tonganoxie residents Ed and Connie O'Brien have been outspoken critics of the tribe's plans. The couple circulated petitions against the casino that garnered 500 signatures, which were forwarded earlier this year to Gov. Bill Graves.

"We're really glad they've decided to withdraw to put it here, but we're still going to be watching," Connie O'Brien said.

At last month's hearing, she said, Pace mentioned he was going to look in the area for other possible economic development opportunities besides a casino. As long as it's not a casino, she said, that's OK.

"I think it has worked out for the betterment of Tonganoxie," Connie O'Brien said.

The Oklahoma-based Delaware Tribe had expressed interest in Basehor as well as Tonganoxie because of both cities' proximity to U.S. Highways 24-40.

Basehor city officials have voted against the proposed casino, saying they felt like it wasn't a good fit for the city.

Dee Ketchum, tribal chairman of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, declined comment on what will happen next. Pace did not return several phone calls.

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