Crawford County Leaders Discuss Casino Proposal

Published 08/28 2014 06:55PM

Updated 08/28 2014 09:56PM

PITTSBURG, KS.--- According to the Downstream Casino Board, a new casino is what Crawford County needs in order for the community to generate more money.

"We think we can change the area a little bit with a very nice clean, safe place to work and have a good time. And that's our goal," said John Berrey, Downstream Casino Development Auth. Chairman.

Kansas state representatives agree, saying a new casino will have an economic impact on the area and could create roughly 300 jobs. 

"I think the City of Pittsburg is on an upward growth trend right now and this is right next door in Frontenac. So, the entire region will benefit from this venture," said Julie Menghini, Kansas Representative.

Ruffin Companies owns the former Camptown Greyhound Park and has joined forces with Downstream Casino to build a new casino. The two groups want the casino to go inside the park, as well as adding an expansion to the building. 

"Between us, we have over 40 years of experience in the casino industry, so we think we know what we're doing. And we think that creating jobs and fun, and entertainment, and bringing all kinds of fun stuff to Frontenac, Kansas would be a great thing for the community," said Phil Ruffin Junior, Ruffin Companies. 

$50 million have already been invested by Downstream Casino, as well as Ruffin Companies. A bid still needs to be placed, but the board is hoping to get a license for the casino by the end of this year. 

"Right now, we are just in the process of going after the one license that will come available next year. We have to go through the application process and then they'll be a board that conveys, that decides on who gets the license," said Berrey. 

The Downstream Casino Board says they have received positive feedback from the community about the casino so far. Board members say they are going to hold more meetings to keep the community up to date on the planning phases of the project. 

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