Saturday, September 03, 2005

Casino in Downtown Brady District?

This has been on the rumor mill for awhile. One rumor is even that the Creeks have been talking with the management group that runs the Hard Rock Casino chain.

Transcribed/ summarized from Tulsa World and posted on TulsaNow...
The Creek Nation's National Council is taking initial steps toward building a gaming site in the Brady District.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation could be the first tribe to open a casino downtown, officials said Friday.

The tribe's National Council approved an unbinding memorandum of understanding with Sharp Development to construct a gaming site in the Brady District, according to Creek Chief A.D. Ellis.

One possible site discussed is near the Cain's Ballroom, although the exact location was not given.

Ellis said the tribe was approached by a representative of Tulsa-based Sharp Development about the possibility of operating a casino in conjunction with that business.

"If they can't put the land into trust, then the agreement is voided," he said. "They got a long road to go, but we've got nothing to lose at this point. We're committing nothing yet."

The tribe will work on entering a binding memorandum if a preliminary plan works out, Ellis said.

If the property gains trust status, the Creeks would be the first state tribe to offer a downtown gaming site in an urban area. The casino could be an asset to recent efforts to revitalize downtown Tulsa, said
Mike Flood, a tribal spokesman.

Because the development plans are in the early stages, officials had no details on casino size, machine quantity or employment numbers.

City officials said that while the venture is still in a preliminary stage, Mayor Bill LaFortune has never been a big proponent of casinos in the Tulsa area, said his spokeswoman, Kim MacLeod.

"We are aware of it. Any economic impact would be purely speculative at this point. We haven't done anything yet on it," she said.

"But gaming has not traditionally been a part of the mayor's vision for the revitalization of downtown Tulsa."

Other gaming tribes, such as the Osage Nation and the Cherokee Nation, both operate casinos within their jurisdictional ter-[ 4] ritories, yet their casinos are miles from downtown, in north Tulsa and Catoosa.

The Creeks operate a Tulsa casino near 81st Street and Riverside Drive that is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation.

The opening of a downtown casino would be contingent on obtaining federal trust status for the site, as required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Trust status, obtained through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, can be a lengthy process.

However, this trust application could go smoothly because downtown Tulsa is within the tribe's historical jurisdiction.

Ellis said that the offer of putting land into trust was one made frequently to the tribe.

"But people don't have any idea exactly what it takes to do this," he said.

David Sharp of Sharp Development could not be reached for comment Friday. He is listed on a Downtown Tulsa Unlimited Web site under property managers and leasing agents.

His company owns property in the Brady District.

Ellis said the possibility of a downtown casino is just part of the 55,000-member tribe's plans for future enterprises. The tribe recently bought 25 acres along the Arkansas River directly west of its 81st Street and Riverside Drive property.

Ellis said no firm plans had been made about what to do with the newly acquired land but that the tribe hopes to become a part of the Jenks Riverwalk Crossing area.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The LAST thing we need is another casino. Little of the money goes back to the people whose name it is invoked in...the Creek nation people.

9:43 AM PDT  

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