Diamondhead casino project back in play

Diamondhead casino project back in play

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Talk of developing a casino resort in Diamondhead has been a burning issue for several years. Two different proposals have come and gone. A casino site rejected by the Mississippi Gaming Commission in 2014 is back on the table.

Jacobs Entertainment and Diamondhead Realty LLC are hoping the Mississippi Gaming Commission will change its mind on a development proposal state regulators turned down two years ago.

Commissioners deemed the tract of land south of the interstate and west of the yacht club as an inappropriate site. City leaders and residents have been split on the issue.

No one has seen actual plans, and the possibility of moving forward is in the hands of the gaming commission right now.

"It's too early for me to oppose a project or endorse something that I have not seen. I look forward to learning more about it, and I want to see each component of it. Right now, it's a question for the gaming commission," said Mayor Thomas Schafer.

The site is zoned commercial. A creative design would put the project's foot print within 800 feet of the water, which is current state law.

Many homeowners think a casino development would be inappropriate here. This is considered a quiet residential area, and some people think such a massive project would be disruptive.

The battle lines have been clear over the years, and Schafer is well aware of the pros and cons of bringing a casino to Diamondhead.

"Pro would be something people deem as economic development. A con would be if we can't manage the traffic with people coming to our city. There is going to have to be additional revenue to step up things like emergency services and police and fire to accommodate the impact we may see," Schafer said.

Even though the site has been turned down, Alan Godfrey, the executive director of the gaming commission, said developers are well within their rights to reapply.

The precise design is a mystery right now, and the brain trust in Diamondhead is hoping the state makes a wise decision before approving or rejecting this latest attempt to reactivate this deal.

Godfrey told WLOX News Now the matter will not come up this month, but will likely be on the January agenda.

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