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Opinion

Letter: Prairie Band bingo project is a winner

The economic impact of the Prairie Band project will be very positive. The project is expected to draw annually over 900,000 visitors to our community. If only 10 percent stop at our local businesses, that is potentially 90,000 new customers for our local businesses. 

Normally, when a large business comes into a community, that business asks for tax breaks or other incentives. The Prairie Band, on the other hand, is not asking for a tax break or other incentives. They have instead, offered tens of thousands of dollars back to the community.  

Examples:

• 400 permanent jobs in additional to hundreds of construction jobs

• At least $800,000 annually to the DeKalb County government 

• The village of Shabbona will receive 0.25 percent of net gaming revenues from the facility

• The Shabbona Fire Department will receive funds for staffing and equipment

• The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office will receive compensation for staffing and security

• The Tribe will continue to make contributions to area nonprofit organizations.

We need jobs in Illinois. Jobs provide the catalyst to keep our home values high, our taxes as low as possible and our way of life secure. Nearly every eatery and gas station in our area has gaming machines. If we approved gaming to be put in our taverns and restaurants, how can we deny the Tribe the same right? If we speak out against the Prairie Band’s rights, what message are we really sending? 

The days of large businesses coming to Illinois to provide manufacturing jobs are over. The job fields that are growing in today’s economy are service and recreational jobs. Gaming, in Illinois, is a job creator and a tax revenue source.  

Providing recreational opportunities, for the public, is a win-win opportunity. Other towns would fight very, very hard to have the opportunity we have. We should fight very, very hard to make this is a reality.

The Prairie Band’s application, to have their land put into Trust of the United States Government, should be approved.

Dennis R. Sands

Shabbona

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