Grant Parish Casino Update - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Grant Parish Casino Update

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GRANT PARISH, La. - They broke ground in March, and now the Jena Choctaw casino in Grant Parish is more than halfway complete.

News Channel 5's Kathleen Witte stopped by the construction site today to find out when Cenla can start enjoying the newest casino in town.

For twelve years, this sign that reads "Future Home of Jena Choctaw Casino" has been sitting next to Highway 167 in Grant Parish.

And in January, the promise of that sign will finally be fulfilled.

Gloria Boatwright, project manager: "It's starting to look like a casino. And right now we're in the phase where every day you can markedly see a difference."

The 46-thousand square feet of construction may not look like much now, but the crew says it's more than halfway finished.

This is the parking lot...and here's the front entrance...the main casino floor...and of course, the buffet.

Boatwright: "Oh it's fantastic. It's fantastic for the tribe. It's fantastic for the people who are out here working on it, because of the accomplishment, and it'll be great for Grant Parish."

Ricky Jackson and the rest of tribal council say they're building the casino on Choctaw trust land, which means the casino itself cannot be taxed by the parish. But they say that doesn't mean the parish won't benefit.

Ricky Jackson, Jena band of Choctaw Indian Tribal Council: "For the past 25 to 30 years, there's really nothing that has come into Grant Parish. We want to work together with Grant Parish, establish an economic base. If we work together as a team, we can develop who knows what."

And with those new businesses come new jobs. And it all starts inside the casino.

Boatwright: "We're going to provide jobs. There will be 300 jobs out here. Everything from housekeeping to the cash operations to the management."

So for now, this sign remains. But come January, it will be replaced by a 25-foot marquee--and a brand new casino to go with it.

Project managers say this is only the first phase. They say, we'll be seeing a casino expansion and a hotel within ten years.

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