Village of Bristol moves one step closer to approving casino development

NOW: Village of Bristol moves one step closer to approving casino development

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KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The village of Bristol appears to be one step closer to having a casino in its backyard. 

Board members went up against opponents and approved a letter of intent to purchase. 

The buyer's name appears to be Kenosha Landco LLC, but a quick check shows their address is the same as Hard Rock Cafe and Casino's corporate headquarters in Florida. 

Angry residents are calling on the board to be transparent.

"What are you doing for the crime rate? My husband's in the military! I was in the military too."

A contentious debate ended with the board voting to advance the sale on to next steps.

"This, to us, is a slap in our face, and I think crime is gonna be everywhere," said Michael Brenner, Bristol resident.

"I believe it is the obligation of the village board to try and maximize the return on this investment," said Mike Farrell, Bristol village president. 

A packed room with passionate pleas on both sides.

"Perhaps some of the money that we get from this sale could go toward building a community center near Hansen Park," said resident Bob Le Febve.

"Yes, we do need money, but at a price tag of morals and values?" said resident Dianna Brenner. 

The Kenosha area already has two casinos close-by, in Milwaukee and a new one in Waukegan, Illinois. Many people don't want another in their backyard.

"This local community and the local government and even the state governor will have zero say in it, and as we know, these casinos have a lifespan," said Lorri Pickens of Citizens Against Expanded Gambling. 

Opponents fear a casino on these 60 acres along I-94, just north of Highway 50, could draw strip clubs, pawn shops and human trafficking and take business away from mom and pop shops.

"You know people are not coming and doing touristy things around the casino. They're gonna go into it, gas up, stay there, get entertained there, eat there, spend their last penny and leave," said Pickens.

The Village of Bristol owns these four parcels of land. The sale could add $15 million. 

Those in favor think a casino could help lower property taxes and improve infrastructure and Hansen Park.

"I am fully against it," said Kenosha resident John Meyer.

"I want to see the casino help us out on our taxes, and want a reduction in the speed limit," said Robert Ducatto, Bristol resident. 

A signed letter of intent was first brought to the village last month.

The next step, according to the village president, is to determine if the buyer is willing to execute the offer to purchase the land.

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