Long Beach buzzing about casino proposal - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach buzzing about casino proposal

It's been more than 20 years since talks of building a casino in Long Beach were a part of serious discussion. (Image Source: WLOX News) It's been more than 20 years since talks of building a casino in Long Beach were a part of serious discussion. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Huntoon says he understands people may not want to see a casino disrupt the quaint town, but the revenue and tax dollars it may bring could greatly help the city. (Image Source: WLOX News) Huntoon says he understands people may not want to see a casino disrupt the quaint town, but the revenue and tax dollars it may bring could greatly help the city. (Image Source: WLOX News)
LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -

It's been more than 20 years since talks of building a casino in Long Beach were a part of serious discussion. However, that's about to change.

A proposal to buy the Long Beach Yacht club for a casino project is already on the table. The idea has area residents buzzing.

John Huntoon, life-long Long Beach resident and owner of the Dapper Pig men's boutique, vividly remembers when a casino project was first proposed. Surprisingly, he has evidence to prove it.

"My dad was city attorney at the time, Frank McCreary...I was moving houses, I had this old brass chart case and I kind of dumped it out just to see what was in it," said Huntoon. "And this is one of the things that was in there."

What he found: the original proposal from 1992 when plans were drawn up to build two casinos at the foot of Jeff Davis Avenue. Huntoon found the documents 24 years later, as the idea is being brought up again.

But as an adult - and a business owner - Huntoon has a little more insight.

"It definitely weighs a lot heavier now as far as my day to day life is concerned. I'm all for it," said Huntoon.

Having been named most desirable place to live by Movoto in 2014, Huntoon understands that people may not want to see a casino disrupt the quaint town. But, he says, the revenue and tax dollars it may bring could greatly help the city.

"Business is business as far as people are coming down. I don't expect it to grow you know enormously. We're still subsidiary to Gulfport and Biloxi and we're still not going to have that big bulk but it could never hurt," said Huntoon.

All the residents and business owners who spoke WLOX News Now are in favor of building a casino. Even a frequent visitor of the harbor was on board with the idea.

"A lot of individuals don't like the big casinos. That's the group of people we could benefit from, and I think it would be fantastic. It's great for revenue and I think it would be great for Long Beach," said Julius Gritzman.

Although the proposal is in the very early stages, Mayor Skellie notes that if it is done the right way, a casino hotel could bring in the revenue the city and school district needs.

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