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Archive for Thursday, November 11, 2004

Park City seeks Indian casino near Wichita

November 11, 2004

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— Park City officials voted Tuesday to pursue a large Indian casino they said would create between 1,300 and 1,500 permanent new jobs in the community of slightly more than 5,400 a few miles northeast of Wichita.

The Park City Council voted 7-1 enter into a "memorandum of understanding" with the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska in an effort to gain state and federal approval for the casino.

Under the memo, the city and tribe will apply to the federal government to take land into trust for Class II gaming purposes. They also will try to negotiate with the state for a Class II gaming contract for the facility.

Former Wichita Mayor Bob Knight, who once opposed casinos in the area, represented the tribe at the City Council meeting, which was moved to a local motel to accommodate the crowd of about 350 people.

"There is an economic train that is going through every region in the country and the world," Knight said, "and if you don't build a station, you will be bypassed."

The casino plan calls for a 250-to-300-room hotel and a youth activities area that could feature a theme park and other attractions.

If the project is approved, Park City would receive up to 4 1/2 percent of the casino revenue, all of the property taxes from the hotel and youth activities area, and 6 percent of the bed tax generated by the hotel.

Knight said the casino would be 80,000 square feet and would create 2,100 jobs initially, including construction jobs. He said changing economic times have forced communities to look at projects such as casinos to help them grow.

Opponents, which included several church pastors, said a casino would increase crime, create gambling addictions and lead to moral decay.

Only three off-reservation casinos in the nation have ever been approved.

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