The lead investor of the Kansas Crossing casino project has announced that construction can continue after a Shawnee County Judge ruled in favor of the casino venue. The state-owned casino, which is located in Crawford County, will be able to get back on track after halting in September.
Investor in Kansas Crossing, Bruce Christenson, was happy when Judge Larry Hendricks made a decision in the casino’s favor, which was made in regards to the project shutting down after lawsuits were filed by a competitor that was not chosen for the project and Cherokee County.
In a statement, Christenson said that it is excellent news for the people that will be able to benefit from the jobs that are created during construction as well as the additional individuals that will be created once the facility is finished and opened in 2017. Christenson stated that the ruling now marks the start of construction for the project that will help to enhance the tourism in the Southeast area of Kansas.
The casino, which will cost $70.2 million, has an opening date set for next year. In the process of the build, the venue has been granted three extensions, each consisting of 90 days. RFB Construction owner, Debbie Beachner, stated that her construction company is currently hiring since the judge made his ruling. RFB is set to be in charge of erosion control and the preparation of the site. Officials of Kansas Crossing have stated that the casino will create 325 employment positions and even more construction jobs, around 380.
Steve Vogel is a businessman of Galena that would have benefited financially if the competitor for the casino was the one chosen by the board and remains critical of the decision by the judge. Vogel has questioned if the market will be big enough for the casino to be located in Pittsburg and if people will be willing to travel there.
The competitor, Castle Rock Casino, may plan on appealing the ruling, according to their attorney, Russell Jones. Judge Hendricks released the decision on Thursday, stating there was substantial evidence supporting the decision made by the review board to recommend Kansas Crossing. In June, a vote of 5 to 2 took place within the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, with an additional state commission voting in favor of Kansas Crossing the very next month.
The petitions for judicial review in the case were denied by Hendricks, which would have allowed for the restart of the process of casino selection. Hendricks wrote:
“The Board’s explicit duty to consider which proposal ‘best maximizes revenue’ or best ‘encourages tourism’ necessarily requires a consideration of whether the project was feasible in the first place. A shuttered casino—or, as one Board member put it, a ‘monument to failure’—generates neither revenue nor tourist visits, no matter how rosy its projected numbers may have appeared at the outset.”