Nearby businesses willing to make deals with Ponca around casino
CARTER LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Numerous property owners near a five-acre parcel that could become a casino say they're willing to make deals to give the American Indian tribe that would run the operation more space.
If a casino is built on the land west of the Missouri River, it could be lucrative for nearby landowners, as other businesses could easily pop up.
''If we had an offer to sell property, we would talk,'' said Kelley Archibald, whose family owns dozens of properties including vacant lots.
''We do have a vested interest in what happens down here,'' she said.
The Ponca Tribe met the weekend of Jan. 26 in Norfolk to talk about the National Indian Gaming Commission decision that gave the Nebraska tribe permission to run the casino on its Carter Lake land.
Ponca Chairman Larry Wright Jr. said there was no timetable for building the casino.
''We understand that the state of Iowa has to do its due diligence in pursuing any options it may have,'' Wright said. ''We want to establish and maintain a respectful, mutually beneficial relationship with the state of Iowa and with Carter Lake as we move forward.''
Wright said earlier that the tribe had not decided whether to pursue buying additional land adjacent to the parcel to support the casino.
R.J. Neary, whose firm manages a warehouse and parking lot across the street from the Ponca land, said a casino in Carter Lake would open up opportunities for landowners.
''It's always good to have new economic activity in an area,'' Neary said. ''We would welcome doing business with any paying tenant.''
Carter Lake is on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River, just northeast of downtown Omaha. Its land was originally on the river's east side, but flooding and shifting in 1877 left 2,000 acres on west side of the river, according to the city's Web site.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1892 that Carter Lake belonged to the state of Iowa, and not Nebraska.
Three commercial casinos are now across the Missouri River from Omaha in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Because the Ponca land is about a mile southwest of Omaha's airport, Eppley Airfield, the Federal Aviation Administration would have to approve any structure more than five stories tall.
The Ponca gained federal recognition as a tribe in 1990 and has about 2,500 members in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.