Menominee Tribe announces proposal to bring back entertainment center in Kenosha County

KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) — Big moves are coming for the Menominee Tribe, as they just announced they are relaunching efforts to bring a destination entertainment center to Kenosha County.

The original proposal was rejected in 2015 by then Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

A plot of land from the original smaller proposal here at the entertainment center in Kenosha — but a concern from some business owners around the area and the Potawatomi Tribe have resurfaced.

“The best thing is to meet the needs of the Menominee people, and that’s foremost in our mind,” said Menominee Tribe Chairman Ronald Corn Sr. “But we also want to be a good neighbor if that’s the right word.”

On Wednesday, July 20, the Menominee Tribe announced their partnership with Hard Rock International about a proposed entertainment center in Kenosha County — one that could potentially bring revenue to the Menominee Tribe, one of the largest and poorest tribes in Wisconsin.

“The goal is to get the off-reservation gaming facility going and generate revenue that’s going to assist us in meeting the needs for the Menominee people,” said Corn.

But some business owners already have concerns over this plan, saying it could take their customers and revenue.

“I think it’s a real concern but I think in business what we need to do is create an environment that our customers want to come to,” said R’Noggin Brewing Co. owner Kevin Bridleman.

Bridleman is the owner of R’Noggin Brewing, which is just across the street from the proposed location of the casino. He says he expects only a good outcome.

“I think something like that can bring a lot of tourism to the area,” said Bridleman. “As a small business owner that can meet a lot more traffic for me and for the city of Kenosha.”

The Potawatomi Tribe released this statement:

“The Potawatomi are opposed to a Florida tribe – with no connections to Wisconsin – coming to the state to open a new casino. Make no mistake, this proposal is being driven by the Florida Seminole Tribe and they will take millions of dollars from Wisconsin back to Florida.”

But, Corn says that won’t be the case.

“The Seminole Tribe is really not involved,” said Corn. “They’re like our financial breaker.”

He says the Menominee Tribe will be the owners of the entertainment center. Hard Rock International is owned by the Seminole Tribe, who will be the managers of the project.

Corn says he is hopeful this time around the plan will be given the green light by Governor Evers.

“If we can get it to his desk, that will be in approval.”

The office of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers released a statement in response to the proposal:

“If the Kenosha casino proposal eventually makes its way to the governor’s desk, the governor would not make a decision until he had consulted with the local communities affected and the relevant Native American tribes.”

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