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Awaiting Casino Decision, Menominee Tribe Faces High Poverty

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin


Governor Scott Walker is still weighing whether to approve a major casino project in the Kenosha area.

The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin cleared the federal hurdles required to open the proposed Menominee Hard Rock Casino.

But to move forward, the $800 million project, which would be built on the site of the former Dairyland Greyhound Park, needs the signature of Governor Walker.

Walker has said he wouldn’t approve it without unanimous consent from all of the state’s 11 tribes. The Forest County Potawatomi and the Ho Chunk tribes have opposed it, saying it would siphon revenue from their existing casinos. But news reports this week suggest the governor may be softening that stance.

Meanwhile, a report this week in the Business Journal of Milwaukee by reporter David Schuyler explored the dire economic conditions on the Menominee reservation itself.

"The Menomonee Indian reservation makes up Menomonee County, which has by far the worst unemployment rate in the state of Wisconsin, and some of the highest levels of poverty in the state," he says. "The state’s most recent unemployment estimates put the jobless rate at nearly 17 percent."

Schuyler is digital producer for the Business Journal of Milwaukee, and covers the nonprofit sector, along with arts, and the casino industry.