Diamondhead POA considers opening amenities to casino resort

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - A plan proposed by the Diamondhead Property Owners Association is getting the cold shoulder from some Diamondhead residents. At issue is the POA plan to allow a proposed casino development access to the community's amenities for its customers.

The POA says the plan could mean millions of dollars for the community, but some residents say at what cost to them.

It was standing room only at the Diamondhead Community Center on Wednesday. Residents showed up at the Property Owner's Association meeting to hear about the proposed plan that would allow a casino development to use community amenities.

"We're not going to sell anything. We're not going to give anything away," said Marshall Kyger, President of the POA.

The proposed agreement would give Jacobs Entertainment customers use of the golf courses, tennis courts and swimming pools at the marina and the airport. The deal also makes land near the Harbor House Restaurant available for parking.

"They would pay us $50,000 a year for the privilege of leasing that land," according to Kyger.

Kyger said the deal is much sweeter for the use of the amenities. Jacobs would pay the POA around $100,000 a year for three years. If the casino receives gaming commission approval and is opened, the POA could receive as much as $683,000 a year.

"Take some time to study this. This is an amazing deal," Kyger said.

Some Diamondhead residents aren't so sure.

"I think it's a terrible idea," said resident Jim Beckham.

"President Kyger said that the POA doesn't take a stand on the casino, but that's really not true. Because the casino couldn't get approval at all without the amenities, so for us to turn our amenities over for their use is saying we want the casino in here," said resident Molly Kooney.

Other residents say casino guests would crowd their amenities and drive up the costs to maintain them.

"Once a casino is in here, they will take control of not only the golf courses, but they will take control of all of our amenities. We can't compete with a casino's restaurant, there goes our country club," explained resident C.J. Longanecker.

Diamondhead residents will get a chance to let POA leaders know what they think about the proposal at a town hall meeting on next Tuesday at 6 p.m., at the Diamondhead Community Center.

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