St. Tammany considers the stakes of proposed new casino

A proposed $250M casino near the foot of the twin span in Slidell has many wondering what the development could look like.

Slidell Casino Meeting

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Project developers met with neighbors to answer any questions they may have about the proposal. Opinions on the idea are split when it comes to the idea of the casino. Residents nearby expressed concerns over traffic, security and what the casino could look like.

Project developers, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, held the feedback session for residents with the hopes of learning what people want to see-- or don’t want to see.

“Everything is designed around that community,” said Jonathan Swain, president of Peninsula Pacific.

Swain said residents were able to weigh-in on the architecture of the casino idea as well as restaurant concepts.

“It’s going to look like what it’s going to be called, what people want it to be called. And that’s part of our whole process as a company is to make sure that it fits this community,” he said.

Swain said the project is still very early in the development process. The proposed layout of the grounds is just a concept for now; an idea of what it could be. He said if it becomes a reality, there will be about 900 full-time positions created with $40M in payroll annually.

District 13 councilmember Jake Airey said people want to know more about the project.

“30 [percent] or 40 percent of the people have been sort of a ‘no’ but a conditional ‘no.’ No, because ‘I don’t know enough about it. I want to see what they want to do. I want to hear what they’re going to do,’” said Airey.

Gary Evans, resident of Lakeshore Estates-- a neighboring community-- thinks the development is an interesting idea. “I’d like to see them go forward with it,” he said. “I’m not so sure that we really need a casino.”

Jay Price, another Lakeshore Estates resident, said he hopes the area is developed.

“We need development on this side of the lake, especially right here,” said Price. “I can’t see where bringing money and jobs into the community can hurt anything. I believe it’s going to help all the way around.”

With ideas that support local businesses and improve infrastructure, Swain hopes to make the area even better when the project is complete.

“Come November, put up a referendum, show everybody exactly what we’re going to do, what it’s exactly going to look like, how much we’re going to invest, what the community agreement looks like with the parish and the city, and then let people vote,” he said. “And that’s the most important thing.”

He said the drawings of the proposed casino idea, are only a draft and could change as more public input comes in and is considered.

He said changes could be made especially if, and when, the project comes up for a vote later this year.

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