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Walker Rejects Menominee Plans for Tribal Casino in Kenosha

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker has turned down the Menominee Nation's bid to develop a casino at the site of the former Kenosha greyhound track.

In a news release, Walker said:

“After a comprehensive review of the potential economic impact of the proposed Kenosha casino project, the risk to the state’s taxpayers is too great. Due to the compacts negotiated by Governor Doyle, the current cost to taxpayers of approving the proposed casino project is up to $100 million and the long-term economic hit to the state budget would be a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The Potawatomi tribe has actively fought the proposal, saying it would hurt the tribe's business in Milwaukee. Walker has said he feared the state could be on the hook for Potawatomi losses.

The statement goes on to say Kenosha already is growing family-supporting jobs, without the need for the casino development. He cites recent expansions of Amazon, InSinkErator and Meijer Distribution Inc.

Walker says his decision is based on advice from his administration secretary Mike Heubsch, who looked into the proposed casino. The governor says Huebsch’s report showed the casino would have a “devastating” impact on the state budget.

Casino supporters are very disappointed in Walker's decision. In a statement, state Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Somers) said:

“The decision made by Governor Walker to deny a casino in Kenosha is shameful. He has turned his back on the wishes of a majority of people in Southeastern Wisconsin. It is shameful that Governor Walker has said no to an $800 million project that would create thousands of family supporting jobs. Governor Walker ran on creating jobs in Wisconsin, and now that he is running for President, he is no longer invested in the Wisconsin come back. This is a dark day for economic development in the State of Wisconsin.”

Jim Allen is chair of Hard Rock International, which would have developed the project for the Menominee tribe. His statement said:

“We believe Hard Rock and Menominee stepped up to every challenge and then some. This is terribly sad news for the 8,958 members of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin.”

The Menominee have been attempting to develop the casino for years, saying it would help improve conditions for the impoverished tribe.

Ann-Elise Henzl became News Director in September 2017.
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