UPDATE: Menominee tribe partners with Hard Rock to relaunch Kenosha casino effort | Local News


The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin is partnering with Hard Rock International to relaunch the tribe’s efforts to open an entertainment center and casino on the west side of the City of Kenosha.

An affiliate of Hard Rock International plans to purchase nearly 60 acres of land located southwest of Interstate 94 and 60th Street from the Village of Bristol. Through an earlier agreement, however, the land is in the city of Kenosha.


Menominee would own the casino and its related facilities, and Hard Rock would serve as developer and manager of the project.

“Hard Rock has a long standing partnership with the Menominee Tribe and is proud to support them in their continued efforts to bring a world-class gaming and entertainment resort to the Kenosha community,” Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas said in a statement. Seminole Tribe of Florida owns Hard Rock International.

Menominee Chairman Ronald J. Corn, Sr. said that the revived effort is aimed at providing necessary resources for the ongoing and growing needs of the tribe’s members. Hard Rock International had previously planned to partner with the Menominee Indian Tribe to develop an $800 million hotel and casino at the former site of Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha. The plan, however, was rejected by then Gov. Scott Walker in 2015.

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“Much has changed since our 2015 effort, but the needs of our tribe and its members have continued acute and in some cases grown more,” Corn said in a statement.

Corn said the new Hard Rock International project would have a “trimmed back” casino to “reflect the increased number of gaming facilities in both Wisconsin and northern Illinois.”

“The proposed project will not be as big as it was previously envisioned, but it will still create jobs and be substantial. It will still be ac Hard Rock brand and be an incredible addition to the community, the local and regional economy, and the state,” Corn said.

While previous plans called for the Menominee-Hard Rock entertainment center and casino to be built at the site of the former Dairyland dog track, the new site being proposed is just west of Interstate 94 on about 60 acres of land in the city.

The property was previously owned by the Village of Bristol. The Village Board and the Community Development Authority voted unanimously to sell nearly 59.91 acres of land for $15,213,22 Tuesday evening.

Corn also said that because this is a different site from the 2015 proposal, developers must develop a revised federal gaming application as well as negotiate intergovernmental agreements.

“We are sincerely grateful for the positive working relationship we have had over the years with the City of Kenosha, Kenosha County, the local business community, and the countless residents who have supported our previous efforts,” Corn said. “We are looking forward to re-engaging with the community as our talks with the City and County take shape. We have always said it must be good for Kenosha to be good for Menominee, and we are excited about getting the process started.”

Mayor, county executive respond

Mayor John Antaramian said the proposal “has a lot of positives, a lot of financial benefits, a lot of employment benefits, a lot of good things, but there are other issues that we have to make sure we address.”

“The city will now start the process of sitting down and reviewing the old compact and making sure we have a good understanding of that again because that has not been looked at for a long time, and then sit down with the tribe and start discussions as to what we would be looking at,” he said. “We start the process now. We’ll talk more about where we’re going and we need to make sure the public and the (City) Council will be kept informed.”

Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman expressed similar sentiments.

“I’ve always been supportive of the project. But now in this role, I want to make sure the county is also protected. So, we’ll review the agreements that have been signed previously, and work to resolve any concerns that may arise forward,” Kerkman said in a statement.

“The county doesn’t have the only say in approving this project, but what I will do is continue to work to make sure it is the best opportunity for all of Kenosha County.”


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