"It's been a long haul:" Supporters, opponents of Kenosha casino renew appeals as deadline nears

KENOSHA (WITI) -- The November election is over, but you may have noticed a new series of political ads on the airwaves. Supporters and opponents of the proposed Kenosha casino are renewing their appeals for Governor Scott Walker to decide in their favor. This, as the deadline for a decision approaches.

"It`s been a very long haul and now it`s gut-check time and we`re gonna find out exactly what`s going to happen," WLIP-AM radio host Lenny Palmer said.

Palmer says the proposed Kenosha casino has frequently been a topic of conversation on his show.

"On the radar and off the radar and now it`s really on the radar," Palmer said.

The deadline for a decision is February 19th.

With Governor Walker elected for a second term, both residents and lawmakers in Kenosha County have resumed their lobbying.

"Every time I get the opportunity to see the Governor, he knows exactly what I`m gonna ask him," Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) said.

Supporters say the partnership between Hard Rock and the Menominee Tribe would create more than 3,000 casino jobs, and more than 1,000 construction jobs.

Now that the election is in the rear-view mirror, supporters and opponents of the proposed casino have released a new set of ads making their case to the Governor and the public.

"What we have is compacts around the state that lock in markets and rates of return for the state that would be shattered if this casino would be built," Brian Nemoir with "Enough Already" said.

Nemoir says any gains from a new casino would be washed out by the tribal compact with the Potawatomi Tribe. If the Potawatomi loses money after a Kenosha casino opens, their compact allows the tribe to get that money back.

"We needn`t settle on just a casino that leaves more questions than answers for the sake of just the area of Kenosha," Nemoir said.

Kenosha officials say a new casino is what's best for the state, and they can only hope Governor Walker agrees.

"In government, you learn patience. Things don`t happen overnight, so I`m certainly willing to wait another three months until the Governor makes his decision," Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman said.

As we wait for Governor Walker to make his decision, an arbitration panel is deciding how the state would reimburse the Potawatomi Tribe if the tribe lost money due to a Kenosha casino.

The federal government, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs took nine years to review the proposal from the Menominee Tribal Nation to build and operate a casino in Kenosha. The project was approved in August 2013.

The final decision rests with Governor Scott Walker.

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