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View Proposed Spokanes' casino in a larger map
A lot of talk has been generated as business folks and residents are sounding off on a proposed Spokane Tribe casino on land they expect will be annexed by the City of Airway Heights.
Critics have said it's too close to Fairchild Air Force Base. And others say a second county casino will harm the character of the community. The tribe argues that the casino, as proposed, would not deter or interfere with Fairchild's mission. And they contend they have every right to seek economic development on lands that were once their ancestral site.
For a view of how close the proposed casino is to the Kalispel Northern Quest Casino, this map lays it out. The pin on the left half is the Spokanes' proposed site; the other is Northern Quest.
The people who track such things estimate next week's U.S. Olympics women's boxing team trials, to be held at the Northern Quest in Airway Heights, will add about $750,000 to the local economy.
Nearly all of that will be from money spent on food, lodging and other services by people coming to the area. A story in the SR today gives a full rundown.
For a quick summary of the event and a chance to learn about the 24 athletes who will compete, check out this link from USA Boxing: usaboxing.org/events/9250
A month ago we wrote about efforts by some West Plains business owners and others in opposition to a proposed Spokane Indian casino and resort.
The group, Citizens Against Casino Expansion, have launched a website to focus their concerns about the project, which they say has potential negative effects on Airway Heights and Fairchild Air Force Base.
Irv Zakheim, owner of Zak Designs, is heading the group. Among concerns, the group says the area already has a casino, the Northern Quest Resort and Casino, in Airway Heights. It was opened by the Kalispel Tribe.
The Spokane Tribe's project would be on land a few miles away. The Airway Heights City Council have started the process of annexing the 145 acres owned by the Spokane Tribe.
The opposition site is www.citizensagainstcasinos.com.
“This project is bad for the West Plains, bad for the future of Fairchild Air Force Base and could lead to more off-reservation gaming in our state. Our group plans to fight it aggressively and we’re inviting citizens to get involved. The community has a voice in this process and we can tell the BIA we don’t want it," Zakheim wrote in a press release.
The Spokane Tribe says the project would provide significant numbers of new jobs and would provide economic stimulus both for Airway Heights and for tribal members. It's also had officials review the project and have been told the development poses no direct problems for the air base.
Before the casino can move forward the Spokanes first need federal approval, followed by approval by the governor's office.