"Kenosha Rally for Jobs" set for December 17th ahead of Kenosha casino decision deadline

KENOSHA (WITI) -- Organizers are anticipating a large turnout for a “Kenosha Rally for Jobs” on Wednesday, December 17th. The rally, to be held from 5:00 -7:00 p.m. at the Dairyland Greyhound Track, Highway 158 & 94, may be the public’s last opportunity to voice its support for the Menominee-Hard Rock Hotel & Casino before Governor Walker decides the fate of the project.

The event will be hosted by State Representative Samantha Kerkman.

“I have been an outspoken supporter of the casino from the onset and am happy to rally for jobs and increased economic activity in southeastern Wisconsin,” Kerkman said.

Among the invited speakers for the event are:

• Dr. Bryan Albrecht, President, Gateway Technical College
• Gary Besaw, Chairman, Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority
• Keith Bosman, Mayor of Kenosha
• Sheriff David Beth, Kenosha County
• John Camosy, Camosy Construction
• Jeff Hook, Senior Vice President, Hard Rock International
• Ed Kubicki, Chair, Kenosha County Board
• State Rep. Tom Weatherston
• State Senator Bob Wirch

“The Menominee Tribe is very grateful for the tremendous outpouring of public support for the Menominee-Hard Rock Hotel & Casino,” Besaw said. “This rally will represent yet another demonstration of our efforts to bring good paying jobs to southeast Wisconsin while providing top-notch entertainment for visitors who come to our state.”

Earlier, the tribe and Hard Rock joined with the College of the Menominee Nation (Keshena) and Gateway Technical College (campuses in Kenosha and Racine) to initiate the creation of a jobs institute providing necessary training for the hotel & casino. Representatives from both colleges will be on hand at the rally, as will employment assistance personnel from both Kenosha and Racine counties.

More than 1,800 job seekers have already registered online at http://www.hardrockhotels.com/kenosha.htm.

At the rally, local businesses will have the opportunity to meet with project team members to learn about opportunities for vendors, suppliers and construction companies after the state decides in favor of the project.

The $800 million facility, to be located at the former Dairyland Greyhound Track, will pump $1.6 billion into the state’s economy in the first 10 years of operation.

It will create more than 10,600 jobs from Kenosha to Keshena on the Menominee Reservation in the northeast part of the state. Recent unemployment figures for Kenosha were at 8.1%, the fourth highest of any major city in Wisconsin. Unemployment was 11.3% in neighboring Racine, highest in the state. In Menominee County on the Menominee Reservation, the unemployment rate is 23.2%.

In addition to jobs creation, it has been projected that the casino will make more in state and local government payments than any other Wisconsin company or Indian tribe, essentially making it the state’s largest taxpayer. It is anticipated that payments by the Menominee could equal nearly $1 billion to Wisconsin under the terms of the current compact between the tribe and state.

After nine years of deliberation, in August 2013 the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the application of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to open a casino at the former Dairyland Greyhound Track in Kenosha.

The Menominee have partnered with Hard Rock International to develop and operate the facility. After earning approval from the majority of Wisconsin Indian tribes and gaining widespread, bipartisan local support in southeastern Wisconsin, the Menominee await approval from Governor Scott Walker.

Walker has a February 19th deadline to make a decision.