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The Ho-Chunk Nation’s Beloit casino and resort project took a major step forward last week as Gov. Tony Evers ruled in favor of the project’s proposed site being declared trust land for the tribe.

MADISON — The Ho-Chunk Nation’s Beloit casino and resort project took another major step forward last week after Gov. Tony Evers concurred with a federal decision to move land designated for the project into trust status, paving the way for one of the largest entertainment complexes in Wisconsin.

Evers said he agreed with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision from April of 2020 that 32 acres of land be designated for the project in trust status adjacent to Interstate 39/90 near Willowbrook and Colley roads. The move puts the project one step closer to realizing a dream decades in the making.

Ho-Chunk Nation Public Relations Officer Ryan Greendeer said there was no timeline for construction yet, while Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther said there is “a real possibility” of the project going into construction this year. Luther added that construction timeline is “a realistic timeframe.”

“As we work to bounce back from this pandemic, we must do everything we can to support economic development in communities across our state,” Evers said. “The Ho-Chunk Nation and local officials in Beloit and Rock County have been working together toward providing jobs and long-term economic support in the region, and this is an important step forward in making the Beloit casino a reality.”

With Evers’ concurrence, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs will prepare the determination and begin the final administrative process for accepting the land into trust status for the Ho-Chunk Nation.

The Ho-Chunk Nation called Evers’ approval “an economic win for the Nation, the Beloit area and State of Wisconsin.”

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