KESHENA, Wl – The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITW) announced that, in partnership with Hard Rock International, it will relaunch the Wisconsin tribe’s efforts to open a destination entertainment center and casino in the City of Kenosha. Menominee will be the owner of the casino and related facilities, and Hard Rock will be the developer and manager of the project.
Menominee Chairman Ronald J. Corn, Sr. said that the revived effort is aimed at providing necessary resources for the ongoing and growing needs of the tribe’s members. The Menominee is ranked as one of the largest and poorest tribes in Wisconsin and regularly reports some of the highest rates of poverty and lowest ratings for health outcomes of any area in the state.
“Hard Rock has a long standing partnership with the Menominee Tribe and is proud to support them in their continued efforts to bring a world-class gaming and entertainment resort to the Kenosha community,” said Jon Lucas, COO of Hard Rock International.
Chairman Corn praised the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns Hard Rock International, for its ongoing interest in and support of the Kenosha project. He said that adding the Hard Rock brand and expertise to the project will help ensure that the Kenosha casino will be an appealing destination for people from throughout the Midwest.
A previous Menominee Hard Rock Project in Kenosha was approved by the City of Kenosha, County of Kenosha, and U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and Department of the Interior, but was rejected by then Governor Walker during the midst of his early presidential campaign in 2015.
“Much has changed since our 2015 effort, but the needs of our tribe and its members have continued and in some cases grown more acute,” said Chairman Corn. “We need to make greater investments into health care for our children and elders; we need to make more investments into educating our young people; and we need to do more to reduce the high levels of poverty, hunger, and unemployment on our reservation. A casino and entertainment center in the City of Kenosha is the best path for our tribe to obtain the resources to help achieve those important goals.”
Corn said that one change for the Hard Rock Kenosha project is that the size of the casino would be trimmed back to reflect the increased number of gaming facilities in both Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
“The proposed project will not be as big as it was previously envisioned, but it will still create jobs and be substantial,” said Corn. “It will still be a Hard Rock brand and be an incredible addition to the community, the local and regional economy, and the state.”
While previous plans called for the Menominee-Hard Rock entertainment center and casino to be built at the site of the former Dairyland dog track, the new site being proposed is on land less than a mile away just west of the interstate on about 60 acres of land in the City of Kenosha. The property was previously owned by the Village of Bristol, and an option on it was recently purchased by Hard Rock.
Chairman Corn noted that, because this is a different site, the project will have to develop a revised federal gaming application as well as negotiate updated intergovernmental agreements.
“We are sincerely grateful for the positive working relationship we have had over the years with the City of Kenosha, Kenosha County, the local business community, and the countless residents who have supported our previous efforts,” said Corn. “We look forward to re-engaging with the community as our talks with the City and County take shape. We have always said it must be good for Kenosha to be good for Menominee, and we are excited about getting the process started.”