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Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma plans casino near Shawnee

Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma seeks annexation of 56 acres into Shawnee city limits for proposed casino. Tribal officials say the project is in the early planning stage, but hope to have it built within the next two years.
BY ANN KELLEY Published: January 24, 2012

— City officials are considering annexing 56 acres on the western edge of Shawnee for a new casino to be built by the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma.

The casino would be on State Highway 177 and MacArthur. The trust land was purchased from tribal members, and the National Indian Gaming Commission has already approved the tribe's proposal to build a casino there, said Che' Downs, general manger of The Kickapoo Casino.

“The project is still in the planning stages and we're working on a master plan,” Downs said. “Right now, we don't know how large it's going to be, or anything about future expansions.”

Downs said they're working to secure water, sewage disposal, fire suppression and police services for the casino. He said they've approached the city of Shawnee about providing those services.

City Manager Brian McDougal said they have had discussions with tribal officials about annexing the property. He said city policy dictates annexation would be required, if the city was to provide the services.

The city commission was scheduled in December and January to consider annexing the property, but it was tabled at both meetings to allow both sides time to develop a solid proposal, he said.

McDougal said the casino property could tie into lines about a half-mile away at a minimal cost to the tribe. He said they are working on an agreement that would allow the tribe to compensate the city for police and fire protection in the area, since the casino would not pay sales tax.

McDougal said the annexation and extension of utilities also could create potential for other retail business to open in the area, which would generate sales tax for the city.

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