Over $100,000 presented to community from Dowagiac Casino - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Over $100,000 presented to community from Dowagiac Casino

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The first annual distribution from the Pokagon Band was presented Wednesday from revenue gained in electronic gaming at Four Winds Dowagiac.

Over $183 thousand was given to the Dowagiac Area Local Revenue Sharing Board. This arrangement is part of an agreement between the band and the city of Michigan. The board receives two percent of the casino's revenue. The board will then distribute funds to the county, local governments,and schools in the area.

This first distribution covers a three month time period and Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indian Chairman, Matthew Wesaw says the amount exceeded expectations, "It's a good day to be Pokagon."

He says this will be the first of many checks, "There's great significance of this first check presented to the board. It's our follow-up of a promise that we made to the community that we will be good community members. We live in this community and we told the community the casino would be good for the community."

Board members say this is just the beginning of the benefits to the Dowagiac Community.

Nancy Stoner says the Cass District Library Board is just one of the organizations to benefit from the success at Four Winds Dowagiac. "It's a blessing. It's really just a wonderful thing for us."

She says the money is needed. "We have a lot of building projects that have to get done."

There's the Historical Library that needs maintained and she says the main library's air conditioning units went out. "They all have to be replaced, this will contribute quite a chunk into that bill."

She says it feels good to have the checks in hand and she can't imagine how much more is to come. "It should be staggering for us in a years time, it will be a great deal of money I'm sure."

Dowagiac Union Schools are also benefiting from the casino and superintendent Mark Daniel says they have big plans. "We want to push the money as close to the students as possible."

He says the first check will go towards maintaining their resource officer and after that there are numerous possibilities. "It could be for technology, it could be for assisting in the general fund, it could go for repairs, maintenance, it could go to support in classrooms."

Another recipient of the Casinos profit? The city of Dowagiac. Dowagiac Mayor Don Lyons says there are various projects that the city has wanted to do. "Our goal with this is to do things in which we might otherwise not have the economic opportunity to do."

One project includes putting up more signs. "Those are very helpful to visitors from outside, but they're fairly expensive."

He says the casino is exceeding expectations and this first check should have the whole community excited. "I think this is a great start."

Because the Pokagon Band's fiscal year just ended, the first check only includes three months, but next year the check will include a full year's worth of revenue.

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