The Ho-Chunk Nation has announced an estimated $144 million of casino expansions, including new hotel complexes in Nekoosa and Wittenberg – projects that are expected to create hundreds of new jobs.
The tribe plans to build a new $14.4 million hotel, a $5.8 million conference center, and $6.7 million casino expansion in the central Wisconsin town of Wittenberg. In the town of Port Edwards, plans call for an $11.2 million hotel and a $4.5 million events center at the Nekoosa casino. Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer says the new hotels will be a win-win for the tribe and the surrounding communities.
“The addition of the hotel facilities and all the ancillary components of a hotel and entertainment complex is beneficial to each of those areas,” said Greendeer. “Whatever the nation can do to contribute to overall job creation in the state is a benefit for both tribal and nontribal communities.”
The expansion is expected to create 82 new permanent jobs at the Wittenberg casino complex. Town Chairman Dick Beversdorf hopes the new hotel brings in more tourists, and more money for other businesses in the region.
“I just think it's a good thing,” said Beversdorf. “It's going to be good for everybody. It will draw more people to our community, which means it will spin off into other businesses, and it's going to create a lot of new jobs. I think there's a lot of positives to it.”
Melissa Reichert, director of the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, says she hopes the Nekoosa expansion will increase traffic in the area and lead to larger events. The tribe also plans significant expansions for their casino complexes in the Wisconsin Dells and Black River Falls.
Greendeer estimates that 320 new jobs will be created by the projects.