Developers looking to share economic benefits of East Hazel Crest casino with surrounding suburbs
Wind Creek Hospitality plans to share revenues with the Illinois Gaming Board and surrounding south suburban areas through the newly created Southland Public Benefit Fund.
Harvey residents hope the 70,000-square-foot casino coming to nearby East Hazel Crest, right outside of the city’s southernmost border, will bring opportunities to a struggling city.
Developers are leveraging the project, named Wind Creek Chicago Southland, to do just that.
Wind Creek Hospitality plans to share revenue with the Illinois Gaming Board, which approved the developers’ application last December, and surrounding south suburban areas through the newly created Southland Public Benefit Fund.
“Our commitment to this community has already begun and will only be strengthened as we move our focus to job creation and finalizing the details of the Southland Public Benefit Fund,” said Jay Dorris, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wind Creek Hospitality. “People across the Southland have been waiting for this casino and the community investment that comes along with it, and we’re happy to be taking concrete steps to see this dream realized.”
In its first five years, the fund will distribute $150,000 a year in scholarships and health services throughout the south suburbs by partnering with South Suburban College, Prairie State College, Moraine Valley Community College, Advocate South Suburban Hospital, and the Ingalls Development Foundation in Harvey.
Wind Creek, East Hazel Crest, and Homewood will contribute to the fund.
“Wind Creek doesn’t just build casinos, we truly build communities,” said Stephanie Bryan, Tribal Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Poarch Creek Indians. “We’re so very thankful for the support of community leaders, local organizations and residents of the south suburbs who helped get us to this point—and look forward to working with you to ensure that the benefits associated with this project are experienced by the entire region.”
Once the fund accumulates $20 million, that distribution will increase to $1 million annually.
The project features 1,350 slot machines, 56 table games, a 252-room luxury hotel, entertainment, and dining. Developers project 600 construction jobs and 800 long-term jobs as a result.
Developers Wind Creek Hospitality and Poarch Band of Creek Indians marked the start of construction of the casino last week. It will be built right off of Interstate-80 on 175th Street and Halsted Avenue in East Hazel Crest and Homewood. It is slated to open in 2023.
See photos of the groundbreaking and celebration here:
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