Citizens group opposes Grove casino

By Jeff Latzke Published: June 13, 2008
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Calling it a "black hole" that will be a drain on the city's economy, a group of Grove citizens is working to prevent the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe from building its proposed $60 million casino at Grand Lake.

The group, called "No Casino In Grove," planned a luncheon Saturday to encourage citizens to contact lawmakers and write letters opposing the Miami-based tribe's plans for a lakeside complex that would include a five-story hotel, three restaurants and a convention center.

Darrell Mastin, a Grove financial adviser who serves as a spokesman for the "No Casino" group, said he envisions patrons ignoring other city businesses as they drive to and from the casino.

"I look at a casino coming in here as allowing a black hole to develop right in the middle of your economy," Mastin said.

The Seneca-Cayugas already operate the Grand Lake Casino, located about five miles northeast of downtown Grove, and announced plans last year to build a 100,000-square-foot lakefront facility that would employ about 450 people and have about 1,000 gaming machines.

A telephone message left for Chief Leroy Howard and Secretary-Treasurer Ray Rodgers at the Seneca-Cayuga main office Friday was not returned.

Bureau of Indian Affairs regional director Jeanette Hanna said she was waiting for the tribe to submit an environmental report before she could make a recommendation for or against the project. George Skibine, the acting Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development, would make the final decision on whether the land can be moved into trust for the tribe's usage.

The City Council sent a letter to the BIA in January stating that it would not support the casino without an agreement between the city and tribal governments dealing with city services such as police and fire service, and street maintenance.

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