Seneca-Cayuga Tribe's plans for Grove casino apparently ended
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL World Correspondent
Friday, November 16, 2012
11/16/12 at 4:54 AM
GROVE - A gaming application to build a $60 million Grand Lake casino that was fraught with opposition for years has been pulled off the table, according to a federal agency.
"The Eastern Oklahoma Region does not have a pending gaming application for the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe for the 30-acre tract," said Nedra Darling, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In 2007, the Grove-based tribe spent more than $1 million to acquire 33 acres west of U.S. 59 about a half-mile southeast of Sailboat Bridge.
Several messages left for Hoyit Bacon, director of business development for the tribe, were not returned.
Darling said in an email that the tribe's gaming application was returned Jan. 27 as incomplete.
"We do have the ability to protect the integrity of our community," said Darrell Mastin, a Grove businessman and one of the organizers of the group No Casino In Grove.
The grass-roots group didn't want the casino within the city limits, citing the loss of a taxable property and protection of the community's family-friendly environment.
The Seneca-Cayuga tribe operates the Grand Lake Casino on the outskirts of the community near Cowskin Bridge.
About 15 casinos are near Grove and the Grand Lake area.
"We were told for years we couldn't stop a casino coming into our community - well, it's not coming," Mastin said.
Proponents said a multimillion-dollar casino would draw tourists and tourism dollars to Grove and the Grand Lake area.
Mastin and the group disagreed, saying that because the tribe is a sovereign nation, a casino would have taken away from the city's tax base.
Tribal leaders said in 2007 that the casino would employ about 450 people and have 1,000 gaming machines. Plans also included a five-story hotel with 125 rooms and three restaurants, and a convention center.
Tribal leaders also said they would not apply for an application to put the land in trust, saying the land was within the tribal historical jurisdictional area. The tribe relented and applied in December 2007 to put 30 acres in trust for gaming.
Federal law requires any land for a casino be put in trust under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.
In March, the Seneca- Cayuga Tribe bought the Royal Bay Restaurant and several adjoining properties, including two paddlewheel riverboats, for $3.9 million.
Original Print Headline: Seneca-Cayuga Tribe appears to have dropped casino plans