MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes held a two-day open house - concluding Tuesday night - to explain their proposed casino project on a 157-acre plot of land outside Mountain Home.
The project consists of 2,000 gaming machines, 250 hotel rooms, 6 food and beverage venues, a 15,000 sq. ft. event center, and an outdoor race track and concert venue. The casino oporation in total would employ 1,200 people and generate $187 million for the local econemy, according to the Sho-Ban Tribes.
"Getting buy-in on any project is the key from your community," Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Director of Planning Alonzo Coby said. "Be transparent to the community. Lots of questions about water issues, transportation issues, and traffic getting into the site."
The Sho-Ban Tribes water office confirmed the City of Mountain Home has "existing water rights with available capacity" for the proposed project. The Mountain Home Department of Public Works is aware of the proposed project and plans to hookup water and sewer utility, according to the Tribes.
The Tribes will use revenue from the casino to service "unmet needs" at the Fort Hall Reservation. That includes maintaining roads, government buildings, emergency services, and housing infrastructure.
"We have the Fort Hall Casino, but that has flat-lined with revenue generation. We have infrastructure upgrades [at the reservation] we need done," Coby said. "We just hope and pray it all goes through. It's not only good for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, but also the community here in Elmore County and the City of Mountain Home."
The project is listening to community concerns and needs; the Tribes see this as a beneficial project to both the Fort Hall Reservation and Elmore County communities.
Residents in town told KTVB Mountain Home lost its movie theatre and bowling alley within the past couple years. To directly address this, the proposed project includes a movie theatre, a 16-lane bowling alley, and a family video arcade.
"I don't really mind the development any more than any other [development]," Mountain Home resident Joshua Malan said. "We would love to have more of that kind of [family entertainment] localized here I think."
The project still needs to conclude an environmental study; this study will also give a clear picture regarding the impact of traffic congestion. The study should take roughly 6 months, according to Coby. If the project is ultimately approved by the U.S. Department of Interior for the proposed gaming operation, construction should take 18 to 24 months.
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