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Small crowd attends public hearing on proposed Beloit casino


BELOIT, WI (WTAQ) - Only a handful of people attended a public hearing Thursday on a long-proposed Indian casino in Beloit.

Scott Doig of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs says his agency will review the impact on traffic and other matters, before deciding in 18 to 24 months whether the casino could be built.

State approval would also be needed.

The Ho-Chunk tribe plans to open a 700,000-square foot casino in Beloit with a 300 room hotel and a theater. It’s been on the books for years – but it’s been tied up in a long-running federal dispute over the locating of gaming houses away from tribal reservations.

Beloit leaders have long supported the casino, saying it would help a city that’s still struggling after the recession. Randall Upton of the Greater Beloit Chamber said it would be an, “amazing step forward.”

But Jane DeSoto of Beloit spoke against the casino, saying the jobs would be low-paying – and it would not improve the area’s quality of life.

Despite the small turnout at the hearing, Beloit City Manager Larry Arft told Madison’s WISC-TV that the proceeding itself was a good sign that the project’s moving forward in Washington.