New Casino Could Dock Near Lakeshore Marina

The Ladner family pumped $2.5 million into its Lakeshore property and created the Islander Marina. It opened just three weeks ago. More than a dozen boats already dock there.

Kirk Ladner gave WLOX News a tour of the facility.

"We're trying to build a first scale, top notch, environmentally friendly marina," he said.

The newly opened 74 slip facility and its dry dock warehouse are phase one of a much bigger development. Ladner had phase two sketched out in a packet of papers.

"This here is the proposed casino, parking and hotel," he said, pointing to one of the drawings. The casino site is several hundred yards away from the marina. It's right on the Mississippi Sound.

Ladner's plan is to put the casino, the hotel and the parking garage on the south side of Beach Boulevard. Plenty of fill and dredging work would be required. So Ladner recently refiled a DMR permit application, to see if this concept could get regulatory approval.

"As soon as we get the permits," he said, "we'll break ground and build something similar to this."

Ladner said he found investors who could build the casino at the same time Hancock County creates a beach near Bayou Caddy. His goal is to make the resort an extension of his marina, "so that the government agencies and the environmental agencies could see that we can build a future development of casino, hotel, condos, RV park in this pristine area and still be sound."

Ladner originally floated this idea two years ago. But a coastwide environmental study put it on hold. Since the study is about to be released, and his marina is open, Ladner felt it was time to reel in a bigger fish -- a new Hancock County casino.

Hancock County Chancery Clerk Tim Kellar said he wasn't aware the Ladners resurrected their casino proposal. Kellar said taxes from a new casino would help the county pay for short term projects.