Kenosha residents, officials granted extra time to ponder casino plans

City Council defers vote until Jan. 3

KENOSHA, Wis. — Sixty acres of prime real estate sits just southwest of I-94 and 60th Street in Kenosha. It’s the site of a proposed Hard Rock Casino and a source of contention.

“It’s going to bring in millions of dollars of income,” Kenosha Alderman Dominic Ruffalo said.

Elected officials and area residents are torn on the short- and long-term effects of a casino.

Kenosha has entertained the idea of building a casino since the 1990s. In 2015, a Kenosha casino was approved at nearly every level only to have then-Governor Scott Walker kill the deal.

A new opportunity is back on the table and up for a vote in Kenosha’s City Council and Kenosha County Board.

On Monday, city officials deferred the vote on an intergovernmental agreement with the Menomonee Tribe’s gaming authority until Jan. 3.

Many requested a deferral to learn more about the agreement.

“I think the overwhelming question is, ‘What’s the rush?’” Kenosha’s John Bush said. “It seems really odd to me we’re doing this meeting two days before Thanksgiving.”

Kenosha County Board has its intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday’s agenda.

Even with city and county approval, the odds of a casino built in Kenosha anytime soon appear long, according to Ruffalo.

The deal would require approval from the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and ultimately Gov. Tony Evers.

“It will probably take at least a couple years, but it will happen,” Ruffalo said. “There will be a Hard Rock Casino on this site.”