The Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking public input on the environmental impact of the proposed Ho-Chunk Nation Casino in Beloit.
A public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 13 at Aldrich Middle School, 1859 Northgate Drive, Beloit when the public can make comment.
The bureau is reviewing an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Ho-Chunk Nation, Beloit and Rock County regarding the proposed tribal casino, and will soon start an Environmental Impact Statement.
According to a release from the BIA, the areas of analysis in the EIS include, “land resources, water resources, air quality, noise, biological resources, cultural resources, resource use patterns, traffic and transportation, public health and environmental hazards, public services and utilities, socioeconomics, environmental justice and visual resources/aesthetics.”
Alternatives for the planned casino will also be discussed, including a no-action, non-gaming construction plan, a no-action no-construction alternative, a reduced-intensity development and an alternative site location.
Additional alternatives could be discussed depending on the public comments received, the release said. The meeting will last until the last public comment is made.
Those interested in making comments should mail them to the Midwest Region of the BIA, and address comments to Diane Rosen, Midwest Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Midwest Region, Norman Pointe II Building, 5600 West American Bvld., Suite 500, Bloomington, MN 55347.
Include your name, return address and the first page of your comments. On the top page of the comments include, “DEIS Scoping Comments, Ho-Chunk Nation Beloit Casino Project.”
Comments, persons names and addresses will become public record when the BIA receives them, the release said.
Residents should know that their entire comment, including personal identifying information could be made public at any time. Requests can be made to withhold some of that information, however, the BIA cannot guarantee the information will be sealed, the release said.
Written comments must arrive to the BIA by Dec. 26 in order to be considered during the study.
The proposed 33-acre casino project would be located just off of Interstate 90/39 and would include a 300-room hotel. The project is expected to cost about $150 million to build, and could create up to 2,000 jobs, Ho-Chunk officials previously told the Beloit Daily News. Ho-Chunk officials had said in previous interviews the casino plan includes a 70,000-square-foot casino with 2,000 slots and 50 gaming tables.
Beloit City Council members voted in March to accept the IGA between the Ho-Chunk Nation and Rock County regarding the casino. Officials said it could take up to two years for the BIA to review the agreement.
It first must be approved by the Midwest Regional Office in Minnesota, and then it is to be sent to the federal BIA office in Washington, D.C.
After that, it heads back to Wisconsin for approval from the state and Gov. Scott Walker.
An off-reservation tribal casino in Beloit has been talked about for many years. The city had agreed to an IGA with the Chippewa bands in 2001 for a proposed casino at the same sight.