[UPDATE] New Racetrack/Gaming Complex to be Built in Gretna

By: La'Tasha Givens Email
By: La'Tasha Givens Email

Updated 1-12 by La'Tasha Givens at 6:05 PM

It was all smiles and cheers as city leaders and investors broke ground for a new state of the art horse track and gaming center in Gretna. But not all residents are happy. Resident Amos White says, "I hope that it doesn't come here, which I know they already groundbreaking for it but I'm against it."

Some residents say the gambling could have a negative impact on the community. Zanders Horne says, "The crime rate might go up and people may get robbed. You never know what might happen because its dealing with money."

City leaders say the complex will have an estimated a $2.5 million economic impact on the area during the first two years and will bring 400 hundred jobs this fall when it opens.

"Oh, I think it will be great! I used to work at a casino. This is great because it gives jobs for the area and its very exciting," says, Patricia White.

We stopped by a local church to see if any of the members had any spiritual concerns and surprisingly most of them think it is a good thing. Charlie Dilworth minister at Springfield A.M.E. says, "We have a lot of roads that need paving, work on our parks and recreation and also with our schools. The land taxes and revenue will help with all these other issues."

Others say they are excited about the new entertainment.

"We need something here in the county where people can go out and socialize," says, Melvin Barber.

So for now, most residents are willing to roll the dice.


[UPDATE] 1-12 Noon --

Gretna residents are sounding off about a multi-million dollar horse track and casino coming to their town. Some are concerned about what this means for the small community.

Eyewitness News was in Gretna, where the police chief told us most people are excited for the center. But he has received a few calls from residents who are concerned about having a gambling center. He believes these people may live outside of Gretna.

Various city, county and state leaders were on hand for yesterday's (1-11) ground-breaking on the $10 million dollar casino and horse track.

City leaders say the complex will bring 400 jobs this fall when it opens.

The partnership is with the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians.
Gretna's City manager says they expect the business to bring in about $2.5 million dollars a year in the first phase, then 6 to 7 million each year in the second phase.

Eyewitness News was at Springfield AME Church in Gretna, where the pastor and members were meeting. They told us that they are happy about the jobs the casino will bring, but a few said it will also lead to people spending money they don't have.

Coming up this evening on Eyewitness News, we'll have that reaction from Gretna residents.


Investors are waging a ten million dollar bet on the city of Gretna, and residents are all a buzz.

Race Track Developer David Romanik says, "I've been working on this project for almost four years now and it's a dream come true. I'm kind of pinching myself that it's actually happening."

Gretna Mayor Helen Franks says, "I'm so happy about this venture so happy with our partners that I could just jump and shout."

Tuesday 1-11 afternoon, a ground breaking was held where a new entertainment complex is being built. "Wind Creek Gretna" will feature a gambling center and a state-of-the-art covered horse track that will hold 1,500 people.

"The purpose of this is to have a regional equine center that will feature both quarter horse racing and other equine events in our area," says, Romanik.

The city partnered with Wind Creek, owned by the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians. The company also owns three casinos in Alabama.

City leaders say this smaller venture will bring in 400 jobs when it opens this fall and will have a $2.5 million economic impact each year during the first phase. The city manager says after the second year, when a retail store and hotel is added, they expect a $6 to $7 million dollar impact each year.

During the ceremony, members of the tribe performed a traditional dance and prayed over the lands.

Buford Rolin Chairman of Poarch Band of Creek Indians says, "We're good neighbors. We want to be a part of this community and we want to involve the community. Hopefully the people will appreciate us just as much as we appreciate them."

In addition to city and county leaders, Senator Al Lawson and State Rep. Alan Williams were also in attendance.


Gretna, Florida, - Investors are placing a ten million dollar bet on the City of Gretna.

A ground breaking just wrapped up for a new casino and horse track. City leaders say the complex will bring 4-hundred jobs this fall when it opens. The partnership is with the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians. Various city, county and state leaders were in attendance for today's groundbreaking. Members of the tribe performed a traditional dance and prayed over the lands.

Gretna Mayor Helen Franks says, "We're hoping that its going to bring more business. We have more things to do ans more money, more economic benefits with the money that is coming to the city of Gretna."

Gretna City manager says they expect the business to bring in about 2-point-five million dollars a year in the first phase, then 6 to 7 million each year in the second phase.

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  • by Unbelievable Location: Florida on Jan 16, 2011 at 05:50 PM
    Garner, have you ever been to Gretna or Gadsden Co? All it takes is one trip
  • by BUD Location: Monticello on Jan 16, 2011 at 03:39 PM
    To anonymous; Jeff Comms. don't want anything new. We missed a new Life Flight system because they could not decide who was in charge on moving the first shovel full of dirt. They let and engineer rip this county off for hundreds of thousands of dollars because of no accountibility and rehired him again after he was caught. They bought land with no survey and screwed the county again. We can't even get a law written to keep large trucks off secondary roads that are useing this county for a short cuts to other places. But other countys can.
  • by BUD Location: Monticello on Jan 16, 2011 at 03:05 PM
    I am on the Planning Comm. in Jefferson County and I voted for the horse track when it came up here but one of our Commissioners was in bed with a developer near the location that did not want it. The Dog Track owner here threw his weight around another Comm. and another voted against it because he did not know how many races were going to be held. One race was more than we have now. The tax revenue was going to be larger than anything in the county. The track agreed to give land to the county to build a Fire Station/Sheriff Sta. and a sewer plant. They promised 55 jobs day one and many more as the complex grew with a Motel/Resturant/Bowling Alley and the possibilty of a large sporting goods dealer. We have one of the highest unemployeements in the state and could have used the jobs. GO GRETNA GO Also the one Comm. was voted out for that and for voteing for the Nestle Water JOKE in Wacissa
  • by Gamer Location: Georgia on Jan 15, 2011 at 09:04 PM
    I have been to Wind Creek in Atmore, a very nice place. No one hanging around to knock you in the head and take your money. Been to Biloxi, Shorter, Tunica and Vegas didn't happen there either, so why would it happen in Gretna?
  • by Unbelieveable Location: Florida on Jan 14, 2011 at 02:03 PM
    Posted by: me . Location: fla. on Jan 12, 2011 at 10:02 AM.....You must have dropped out of school at a young age. You obviously can not comprehend what you read. What I said was, this casino will lead people ON welfare (not TO welfare) to bet all their money away then can't pay their electric bills, rent or feed their children. I live a few miles from this location and dread it. I will keep my doors locked as I travel to the interstate and will not slow down for anyone in the road.
  • by Anonymous Location: quincy on Jan 14, 2011 at 09:54 AM
    And why not Gretna...Just as good as any other place...You never know what will happen until you give it a try..All Yall negative people so what you don't have to go there who cares about your opinion...Everyone is given a chance and now Gretna has one good for them I applaud them and the Casino...If people want to be stupid and use money on gambling rather than their family that's their business...Why the H- - - are you worried about it Are you going to pay a bill for them? No I didn't think so!!!
  • by Show me the Money Location: Next Door on Jan 14, 2011 at 08:28 AM
    When I first heard of this idea, I thought of Country Crossings by Dothan,Al. Then I figure Gretna needs all the revenue they can get. Look how much Federal and State monies has been spent in Gretna in the past ten -twenty years. So if they can get extra money from this casino that would be less money from me. I suspect the property taxes will go up in Gadsden County during the course. As far as extra security, relax there is a plan. We are going to hire additional illegals, I mean undocumented workers to walk you,wife,girlfriend,boyfriend to your car. Besides Quincy probably likes the idea very much as they will benefit from it more than Gretna as they have more business to accommodate the visitors. What does Gretna have?
  • by JAMES Location: DONALSONVILLE GA on Jan 14, 2011 at 06:21 AM
    its true that a casino would create several jobsmbut thousands would spend their money there instead of theif families.making only a few people richer..thats supposed to be the main fight against government
  • by Old timer Location: Greensboro, FL on Jan 14, 2011 at 04:44 AM
    Practically the same area the County tried to build a High School a few years ago. I am beginning to understand why they had to change the location. Then Gretna's City Limits area more than triples in size. As far as the welfare issue, just spend a little time thinking about it, that program has been figured out(abused) for a long time. As long as you never marry and nothing is in your name... about the same with income taxes. Ouch! My back hurts boss man! It's actually kinda backward here. A lot of people here live in a shack have 9 children, drive $50,000 vehicle(s) and have state funded health insurance. Almost forgot, and NO JOB. A casino is just what we need! Anybody remember Big Bend Jai-Alia?
  • by Williams Location: Gretna on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:31 PM
    As I read the postings from individuals it is sad to say, anytime something comes along and has Gretna attached to it here comes the group negative bashers. For many years I have lived in the town of Gretna and everyone there is not on welfare, there are citizens that hold jobs have accomplish many good things in life. I have witness doctors, lawyers, officers and nurses produced from this town. Every town in this world has its ups and downside. Do not get me wrong there are some that needs a better direction in life, but if you visit each town you will see this same pattern also. It is not just happening in Gretna, but ask yourselves what am I as and individual doing to improve at least ones indivual that needs a extra push to make it (and it is more than one way to do this other tan money) men live by example teach that younger male how to be real men, women live by example also teach that female how to act, live and the importance of reserving their body life has more to offer. If the track does open and jobs are offered this can help some male or female to gain some indecency and pride for themselves. If not the track bring something for the people to enjoy and design it with the peoples in mind. Stop being critical of everything, City of Gretna administrators and commissioners have been collecting taxpayers money for years and what do you see going on with the money (another subject) hmm so go not put it all on the citizens there are some outsiders up there, and as for as crime goes every time you turn the television on crimes is happening so do not act as if Gretna is the only one with this problem. And yes the police department does need extra help but if you examine all the surrounding departments you will find corruption in it not saying it is okay. Every town has its flaws the lottery has been around for awhile it has its group of players, the bingo hall and clubs are in operation, so people are finding ways to spend money as they please.
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