South Bend residents voice concerns over possible casino - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend residents voice concerns over possible casino

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The public got a chance to sound off Wednesday night on a possible tribal village and casino in South Bend.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs hosted a meeting to hear what factors the public thinks should be taken into consideration when an Environmental Impact Statement is made for the proposed tribal village and casino.

People at the meeting tonight said they welcome the tribal village with it's housing and healthcare facility.  But many of them aren't too thrilled with a new casino.  Still some neighbors said bring it on.

Andrea Edholm has lived in this home for 18 years.  It's just across the street from the site where the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians wants to build a tribal village that could include a casino.  She likes the idea.  "I don't have a problem.  I think if it brings jobs into the area that's what we need," said Eholm.

Edholm lives on the eastern border of the proposed site on Locust road.  And even though she welcomes a possible casino not everyone on Locust road is happy about it.  David Pink said, "The big concern I have is the crime.  The last big project we got was the condos and that has increased crime in our area and this will certainly not make it any less."

Pink went to the meeting to voice his concerns.  A handful of others stood up also, to say just what he did, they're concerned about increased crime.  Edholm doesn't share that concern.  "I don't think it's going to bring a bad element with all the problems South Bend has we've had a bad element without casinos, it's not gonna make any difference."

She said the positives outweigh any negatives.  "Why should we go up to Michigan to gamble and lose our funds there when Indiana could get the funds, South Bend in particular."

But those against the Casino don't see it that way.  They say South Bend doesn't need a casino.  "We really see no need for it there's plenty of casinos around here," said Pink

A PR person for the Pokagons tells me the main emphasis right now is on the housing and healthcare facility.  He says the casino was listed as part of the plan just in case they want to build one down the road.  And it's going to be a while down the road before anything gets built.  One of the first steps, the Environmental Impact Statement, will take at least a year and a half to two years to complete.  That will need to be completed before any building can begin.

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