Osage Casino hopes to benefit thanks to Tulsa's Vision plan

Friday, July 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Two more casinos are planned for northeastern Oklahoma, one in Sand Springs and another in Tulsa.

The latter ties into Tulsa’s Vision plan, but does the other? News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan went to 36th Street North at the end of Tisdale Expressway.

The Osage Indians plan to build a large casino just over the Osage County line - and that's why a $4 million road-widening project is part of Tulsa's Vision plan. The Osage Tribe believes gaming is an important part of their future - and Chief Jim Gray believes Tulsa is the natural place to expand. "We feel like it's a great opportunity for a casino, entertainment center."

After starting small with a casino in Pawhuska - a tribal casino opened in Hominy. The tribe plans to build a much larger hall in Sand Springs - and about the time that one opens - they'll be building in Tulsa. The north Tulsa casino will be the largest for the Osage Tribe.

The casino in Hominy has 165 machines - but in north Tulsa they're planning to have 1,000 machines. Chief Gray says the north Tulsa casino plan depends on the widening of 36th Street North. He believes the investment from the Vision package would pay off. “That's one of the benefits to having something like this facility, the presence will create opportunities for other business hotels restaurants.”

And that positive take on the benefits of a road project is echoed by Tulsa city councilor Joe Williams. "We expect in the short term hundreds of jobs in the area, in the long term, possibly over a thousand jobs in the area." The Vision package contains $4-million for widening 36th Street North, from Cincinnati to the Osage County line.

The Osage tribe will do more roadwork on their side of the intersection. It's an investment that both sides think will pay off for the other. Councilor Williams says he's already talking with businesses interested in locating here, but they're waiting for the new road and casino.