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Public could chime in on casino by March

LITTLE BOSTON — North End residents will have to wait a little longer before a public meeting regarding the new Point Casino.

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe is still working through the program that will revel casino plans and potential designs, and hopes to present it to different community groups and residents in March. The already stated nearly 100,000 square-foot casino and hotel resort was hoped to be constructed by the end of 2008, but that aggressive schedule has been pushed back slightly, said tribal Chief Executive Officer Doug Quade. Promising a public meeting as early as December 2007, he said that timeline has also been pushed back to meet when the casino program will be completed.

"We're about four weeks from completing the program," he said. "That includes design and finance stuff, and a financial schedule and contracting. We're confirming the program. We're considering doing (public meetings)."

Once the program package has been completed, he said the tribe will make a point to visit some of the different community groups in the area, such as the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council and the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council. The tribe has already been in contact with those groups, and the program will be able to answer questions each group has raised about certain aspects of the project. The GHAAC, for example, has voiced concerns about road improvements made while the casino is under construction, Quade said. The tribe has discussed turn lanes and alternate routes from Hansville Road.

"I will be at the GHAAC's March meeting," he said. "I'll be discussing a number of different things, including road issues. The programing stage will confirm (those changes). We'll be ready in March to provide more information at different venues."

The new Point Casino will expand the current one, which will become a building for back room uses when the new structure opens. There will be several rooms for different groups, like the Players Club, and residents who feel nostalgic for the smaller facility. Quade has said in the past the new casino will be much more of a destination spot.

Along with that will be the hotel, which will be attached to the casino and will have approximately 90 rooms. It will also have space for offices and conference rooms. The whole complex will be located north of the Gliding Eagle Market and gas station and south of the current Point Casino building. Discussion and ideas of additional business and economic space has circulated as well, but no concrete plans have been formed.

Quade said there will be an open house for Port Gamble S'Klallam tribal members, and afterwards there may be one for the general public to hear the casino proposal.

"We do want to have some public awareness meetings," he said.

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