KENOSHA — The Menominee Indian Tribe and Hard Rock International have partnered to relaunch an effort to build a casino and entertainment district in Kenosha County.
According to a news release, the tribe would be the owner of the destination, which is slated to consist of a casino, Hard Rock music venue, Hard Rock cafe, hotel, and other amenities. Hard Rock would be the developer and manager of the project.
This comes after a unanimous vote Tuesday night approving the sale of nearly 60 acres of land for $15 million. The land is southwest of Interstate 94 and 60th Street.
"I think it is our obligation as village board members to maximize village assets and investment when we can and I believe we did so in this case," said Bristol Village President Mike Farrell.
Farrell added that proceeds from the sale would go towards the village's needs which include prioritizing a water tower.
The Menominee Tribe is ranked as one of the largest and poorest tribes in Wisconsin, a news release from the tribe and Hard Rock says. Menominee Charman Ronald J. Corn, Sr. said the revived casino effort is aimed and providing necessary resources to the tribe and its members.
“Hard Rock has a long-standing partnership with the Menominee Tribe and is proud to support them in their continued efforts to bring a world-class gaming and entertainment resort to the Kenosha community,” said Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas.
This effort comes after former Governor Scott Walker rejected a Menominee Hard Rock Project in Kenosha, which was approved by the city, county, and U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs back in 2015.
“Much has changed since our 2015 effort, but the needs of our tribe and its members have continued and in some cases grown more acute,” Corn said. “We need to make greater investments into health care for our children and elders; we need to make more investments into educating our young people; and we need to do more to reduce the high levels of poverty, hunger, and unemployment in our reservation."
This new proposal is not as large as the one in 2015, the press release states. It's also planned for a different location, which means the project will have to develop a revised federal gaming application and negotiate updated intergovernmental agreements.
Forest County Potawatomi, which owns the Potawatomi in Milwaukee, criticized the move.
“The Potawatomi are opposed to a Florida tribe - with no connections to Wisconsin - coming to the state to open a new casino. Make no mistake, this proposal is being driven by the Florida Seminole Tribe and they will take millions of dollars from Wisconsin back to Florida," a spokesperson said.
Quentin Jackson, has lived in Bristol for four years, and opposed the land sale. Jackson believes village leaders should have been more transparent and that the proposed entertainment development is too big for the community.
"I think the main issue is it will distract from the local business and bring it all to the casino which would hurt the local business," Jackson said.
Mike Maxon owns Maxon Equipment which sits in the middle of the land that was purchased. Maxon is concerned about the impact on traffic since 122nd Avenue which runs through the plots is currently a two lane road. However, Maxon was generally optimistic.
"I just think it's gonna be good for the area in my opinion of course as long as they do it in the right way. I'm sure the City of Kenosha will make sure they comply and do things the right way," Maxon said.