The people in Hamilton County, Florida haven't seen any major economic development in several decades. That's why there is a lot of hope that the new $30 million Jai-Alai Fronton will spark growth.
With the a few turns of these seven shovels, the people of Hamilton County have hope that new jobs and opportunities will be on the way, following the completion of a multi-million dollar Jai-Alai Fronton Gaming Center, just off Interstate 75.
"This is one of the poorest counties in the state and we've just needed someone to come in that was willing to take the first step and Richmond Entertainment and Mr. Richards have done that. That's why we feel like everything is going to break open," says Bob Poor of Economic development of Hamilton County.
Even though construction on the actual gaming facility hasn't even begun yet, Hamilton County leaders are already getting firm commitments from businesses looking to expand or relocate to the area.
The new Jai-Alai center will not only be a benefit for locals. Players from around the nation say they are excited about a new place to play.
"Basically for guys like me, this allows us to travel to another place and extend our job and our careers and it gives us a future in Jai-Alai," says “Cachin”, a Jai-Alai player.
Building a world class Jai-Alai Fronton takes time, so the fans will have to wait to place the first bets until next year.
"Our contract with the fronton players, the earliest I could get them was the end of June, 2005. So, that's our opening day, around the 4th of July, 2005," says Glenn Richards, Jai-Alai owner.
The development will not stop at just the Jai-Alai Fronton; a horse track will also be added to the site. There will be several new housing developments are in the works, so all the new employees attracted to the area will have a place to call home.