AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. - The Spokane Tribe of Indian is, simply put, ambitious. On Tuesday the tribe unveiled plans to develop 145 acres in Airway Heights and build a casino, a hotel, stores and restaurants.
The plan, which still needs several levels of federal and state approval, would cost around $400 Million and, according to the Tribe, provide 3,800 jobs.
"It's very exciting to be able to have a plan, something for the future, for the tribe and generations to come," Greg Abrahamson, Chairman of the Spokane Tribe, said.
Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing is excited too. He says the casino will provide much needed jobs.
"I mean look out there and imagine the possibility," Rushing said, peering out over the now vacant land Tuesday. "This is going to bring jobs. This is going to bring growth into the west plains."
But not everyone's excited.
Airway Heights businessman Irv Zakheim says the Spokane Tribe is greatly exaggerating the economic impact of their casino.
"I don't know where they're getting 3,800 jobs from," he said.
He further worries that the Spokane Tribe's casino and the Kalispell Tribe's Northern Quest cannot coexist.
"I worry that either one or the other will die," he said.
As for Northern Quest, they admit they are worried about competition in the casino business less than 3 miles away.
Northern Quest says a new casino will mean layoffs among their employees.
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