Road improvements in the cards for Silver Slipper Casino
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - A new and improved route to the casino is in the cards for the Silver Slipper. For several years, strong winds and flooding have forced its doors closed, leaving guests and workers stranded.
“Even if it’s just a very high tide with an east wind the road is impassable. So, we get trapped here,” General manager John Ferrucci told WLOX.
Ferrucci said the single road leading to and from the casino hotel, Lakeshore Road, has been a problem since day one.
“And we knew that,” he said. “And we manage to it.”
He and his team manage the issue by cutting back operations. With a storm on the horizon, you can expect the hotel’s buffet and table games to close.
“When we saw the water was coming up on the road,” he said. “We would tell everybody, make an announcement, ‘If you want to leave, you have to go now because the tide’s coming up. And if you decide to stay, you’re not gonna get out till the morning.’”
Scotty Adam, president of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, said the casino provides his board, the sheriff’s department and the school district with about $2.5 million each year.
“When they close their doors, it impacts us as well,” he said.
County officials are now working with hotel leaders to keep the casino running, rain or shine. With a $7.2 million bond issue, they plan to raise the road by about five feet and shift it further from the shoreline.
“Hopefully, it will eliminate the water getting over the road,” Adam said. “But we’re also going to take the existing road and use it for parking, eventually, for beach access and pedestrian access to the beach.”
A safer and more reliable pathway in and out also enables the hotel room for growth.
Ferrucci said they plan to transform six and a half acres of nearby marsh into 450 new parking spaces and build a new tower consisting of 179 more rooms.
“If we can solve that problem, that makes more sense for us to continue with the expansion, knowing that it’s going to be good, even if a storm comes,” Ferrucci said.
Adam said Compton Engineering crews are about 80 percent complete with their design work.
“Once the design is totally done, I guess we’ll be ready to go out for bid,” Adam said.
His hopes are to break ground next Spring.
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