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Grand Forks Considers $60-Million Casino - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Grand Forks Considers $60-Million Casino

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  Grand Forks could become the first, large city in North Dakota to have a full fledged casino and entertainment complex.

  The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa at Belcourt wants to tap into the larger population base along I-29 and build a new casino at Grand Forks. At its meeting Monday night, the Finance Committee moved the proposal forward to the full City Council for its consideration, later this month.

  It's not the first time around for this proposal. Back in October of 2005 the City Council passed a resolution supporting and earlier proposal by the tribe to build a casino in Grand Forks. However, that proposal died out, after the tribal leadership changed and the new tribal Chairman did not want to pursue the project.

  But now, tribal counsel, Bill Johnson says, they're ready to build a  60-million dollar casino in Grand Forks that could employ as many as 600 people.

    Johnson says it would contribute millions of dollars to Grand Forks, UND and local charities.

Reporter: "Would you say it would mean million to the Grand Forks economy a year?"

Bill Johnson / Turtle Mountain-Chippewa: "Oh, definitely. Definitely, seven, eight figures… seven, eight figure recurrence to the City of Grand Forks."

Mike Brown, Grand Forks Mayor: "Well, I think it's a tremendous opportunity if managed correctly for both Communities."

  Brown says this may be a great opportunity for Grand Forks. Brown says he'd like to see a community wide discussion on it, before any decisions are made.

Mike Brown: "Do I see everybody flying Aligiant to Grand Forks for entertainment and gambling? I don't know, but it's a vision. Maybe now it's the right idea at the right time."

  Officials say if the project is approved by the City, it would still need the approval of the Federal Government and Governor, before it could become a reality, 2-years from now.

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