The Kenosha City Council recently cast a positive vote for a significant intergovernmental agreement with the Menominee Indian Tribe’s gaming authority, a crucial step for the tribe, based in Wisconsin, in their collaboration with future Hard Rock Casino. Initially scheduled for a November decision, the vote was postponed to January 3rd, providing council members additional time to thoroughly examine the proposal and consider the community’s feedback.
The next phase involves the Kenosha County Board of Supervisors reassessing its own agreement with the tribe on January 16th.
Kenosha’s Mayor Optimistic About the Decision
In a meeting at the Municipal Building, the City Council voted 11-6 in favor of the agreement. Those supporting the proposal included Rocco LaMacchia, David Bogdala, Ruth Dyson, Daniel Prozanski, Anthony Kennedy, Keith Rosenberg, Curt Wilson, Brandi Ferree, Jack Rose, Bill Siel, and Rollin Pizzala.
Opposing members were Dominic Ruffalo, Holly Kangas, Kelly MacKay, David Mau, Eric Haugaard, and Jan Michalski.
Mayor John Antaramian expressed satisfaction with the outcome, noting in a Kenosha News interview his belief in the long-term positive impact for the community. He emphasized the rigor of the agreement, similar to past compacts, and its thorough vetting.
Details of the Proposed Wisconsin Casino Project
The tribe’s gaming authority and legislative body have proposed a $360 million development, envisioning a complex that would include a hotel, various dining establishments, and an entertainment venue. In partnership with Hard Rock International, based in Florida, the tribe plans to develop a 60-acre site southwest of Interstate 94, previously owned by the Village of Bristol.
Supporters of the casino, including labor unions, predict the project will generate approximately 800 construction jobs over two years and create 1,000 permanent positions upon completion.
Financial Arrangement with Kenosha City
Under the intergovernmental agreement, the casino, while exempt from local property taxes, would contribute to the city from its gaming revenues. Hard Rock’s Regional President, Matt Schuffert, estimates annual revenues could be between $250 million to $295 million.
Kenosha would receive roughly 3% of the casino’s “net win” each quarter for governmental operations. Over the next 20 years, with negotiations every decade thereafter, the agreement includes:
- An annual $750,000 contribution to local public schools when net win exceeds $2 million.
- Starting in the third year, $500,000 annually for the city’s public museums and a homeownership program.
- $1 million for advanced life support vehicles.
- A six-year commitment of $500,000 annually for a new police, fire, and public work station near the casino.
The Kenosha City Council’s favorable vote for the Menominee Indian Tribe’s casino project, in partnership with Hard Rock Casino, marks a significant stride in regional development. This decision, reflecting careful deliberation and community input, paves the way for a $360 million complex that promises economic benefits, including job creation and sustained revenue for city initiatives.
The agreement, while exempting the casino from property taxes, ensures substantial financial contributions to Kenosha, enhancing public services and educational funding. This development signifies a forward-looking approach to economic growth and community investment in Kenosha.