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Kenosha Indian casino approval in 11th hour

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November 12, 2009

KENOSHA, WI - The Menominee Nation is hopeful the federal government can approve their application for a $1 billion Kenosha casino before the end of December. That is when an intergovernmental agreement signed 5 years ago by the tribe, the city and the county will expire.

A spokesman for the casino project, Evan Zeppos, confirmed Monday the tribe has discussion an extension with the city and the county governments.

Officials in both governments have changed since the agreement was made, and approval of an extension may be difficult. Ten of the City Council's 17 seats have new representatives and 12 of the County Board's 28 districts have elected new supervisors.

Zeppos said the tribe is willing to work with the city and county to keep the dialog going. He said "We would like to see a short-term extension and certainly would welcome the opportunity to have further dialogue with them about what they see going beyond that short-term extension."

If the Menominee receive approval from the federal government, the agreement would establish the services the local governments would provide to the Dairyland Greyhound Park property. In turn, the Menominee would make payments to the city and county based on the casino's revenues. The 2004 projection was $521 million to the governments over the first 22 years of the casino's operations. The tribe would also pay $1.5 million annually to the Kenosha Unified School District for the purpose of building new schools.

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