It’s only natural that local residents would be curious about the Delaware tribe’s plans for a prominent piece of property near the East Lawrence interchange on the Kansas Turnpike.
Even if tribal leaders aren’t yet sure what they will do with the property, it would be to their advantage to share some additional information with local residents and officials about what they are considering.
The fact that the Delaware tribe had an interest in building a casino in the same general area back in 2000 is bound to spur some speculation among local observers. Added to that are the various negotiations and court actions that have come to light in other parts of the country that raise questions about what goals the tribe is pursuing.
Delaware leaders have offered few details, indicating only that they are interested in using the land for housing, health care and child care facilities to serve the state’s Native American population. Other published reports suggest the Delaware may want to move its headquarters from Oklahoma back to Kansas, the last area in which the tribe had its own reservation.
A story in Friday’s Journal-World indicates the Delawares are involved in complex negotiations with the U.S. Department of Interior and the Department of Justice over a settlement that may include placing the north Lawrence land into trust for use by the tribe. There’s also a lawsuit pending over a deal to locate a Delaware casino near Cincinnati.
It’s understandable that it takes the Delaware leaders some time to work through these issues and solidify their plans for the Lawrence property. The more open and informative the Delaware spokespeople can be, the better the chances for understanding and help from area residents.