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.