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A historic day in our area has most feeling excitement

For two years we've been covering the push to get a casino in our area.

Not quite a month after Worth County was granted a casino license...reality really hit home.
Today, Diamond Jo Casino broke ground.

Everyone at the ground-breaking ceremony has gotten what they've wished for.

But others, namely area businesses, still want more.

Shade Tree Liquors owner, Theresa George, is hoping for more business, but not just from casino patrons.

She tells KIMT NewsChannel 3, "I would sure hope they'd buy their liquor from me. I'm the only liquor store in Worth County."

Because from the start, that was the plan.

Kim Miller), with the Worth County Development Authority, tells KIMT NewsChannel 3, "When we chose Diamond Jo, that's one of the things that we talked to them about, that we wanted as many businesses in Worth County to benefit from this."

That's because they can't bet on business from patrons alone.

"I think out there you're gonna get the people traveling through and they're gonna stay out there but I'm still gonna have the locals," says George.

It's the locals that keep her business up and running, but it's the casino that could provide a little something extra.

She says, "I would be extremely disappointed if it didn't happen. I would certainly hope that they would help the county out and help businesses in the county."

And they certainly need it.

"We had the second highest retail leakage in the state because people would either shop at Albert Lea or Mason City and so we were really hurting that way," says Miller.

But Theresa George, and many others, hope the new kid on the block can take that hurt away.

The Diamond Jo Casino will open in early 2006.

The 60,000 square foot facility will have over 500 slot machines, table games and a poker room, as well as an entertainment lounge, a restaurant, a fast food court and a gift shop.

A nearby hotel will have 100 rooms.
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