Cleveland County North Carolina businesses are expressing support for the Catawba Nation’s plans to build a casino off of their reservation. Last month religious leaders met with Bureau of Indian Affairs in D.C. to voice their opposition to the plan. The group has also asked city and county officials not to support the casino.

The City Council and Cleveland County Board of Commissioners penned letters last year voicing their approval of the casino resort. According to business owners and others the development would spur economic growth in the area.

The tribe submitted a “land into trust” application in September 2013 but the BIA has not taken any action yet. The Catawba’s plan is to build a $600 million resort on 16 acres of land in Kings Mountain at the intersection of Dixon School Road and Highway 85.

Overall, public opinion seems to be in support of the casino in spite of efforts by the Kings Mountain Awareness Group to paint the proposal as immoral and potentially damaging to the community. Many of the same pastors and parishioners who are opposing the casino were involved in another debate several years ago in regards to allowing liquor by the drink in the county. Proponents of the casino say the negatives warned against in that action never came to pass.