Salmon says casino at Belwood has ‘fizzled out’

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 11, 2000

The future of a Shining Star Casino at the Belwood property seems to have faded.

Adams County Supervisors said Monday it appears CSL Development Corp.’s Southern Stars Casino is no longer interested in placing a dockside casino at the mouth of St. Catherine Creek.

Board President Virginia Salmon said the proposal presented by CSL President Charles Liberis has &uot;fizzled out.&uot; Supervisors asked Liberis if he still wanted to build at the site, and he said no.

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Although supervisors did not discuss the matter during their regular meeting Monday, they did discuss the future of the Belwood property.

The board agreed to allow the Adams County Road Department to clean up the overgrown Belwood property.

Supervisors said the work will make the property more attractive to a perspective company and the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority will refund the county for the work.

Adams County Road Manager Russell Dorris estimated the work would take from 60 to 100 hours and cost about $60 an hour.

&uot;Marketing the piece of property is very important right now,&uot; Salmon said &uot;I want it very presentable and very marketable.&uot;

Supervisor Lynwood Easterling compared the project to preparing to sell a house.

The cosmetic work is &uot;just like house-keeping,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re trying to sell that as a location for industrial development.&uot;

CSL was the first company to officially announce an interest in the property since county official bought it several years ago.

In April 1999, Liberis entered into an agreement to pay the county $5,000 a month while conducting a year of tests at the site.

But CSL has not made a monthly payment since October 1999, said Tommy O’Beirne, Adams County chancery clerk.

CSL had proposed locating a casino on 40 acres of the east side of the 75-acre Belwood property. Belwood is a former golf course located on the Mississippi River. The county and the EDA bought the property for use as an an industrial park.

Supervisor Darrell Grennell said it has not been officially announced that CSL was no longer interested in Belwood, but that was also what he understood on the matter.

Supervisor Sammy Cauthen described the prospect of the casino as something that would have been &uot;a nice initial investment&uot; for the Belwood site.

Easterling, who said he had not heard about CSL’s change of plans, said he would like to see the county attract other types of businesses.

&uot;I hate to see that Adams County has to depend on a gambling boat for industry,&uot; Easterling said.

With CSL no longer in the picture, supervisors said they plan to move forward.

Supervisor Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell said he was not disappointed about CSL’s decision because of the moral problems associated with gaming.

Even though he knows the casino revenue would have benefited the county, Campbell said the board should &uot;just move on and look for something else&uot; for Belwood. &uot;Hopefully we can get someone interested as soon as possible.&uot;

EDA associate director Andrew Ketchings said he does not know of any companies currently looking at Bellwod, but he does know of one company considering that general area.

The EDA is also working with other companies interested in locating in other areas of the county, Ketchings said.

&uot;We’ve been getting a good bit of interest lately,&uot; Ketchings said, adding state officials have been sending prospects to Natchez.

The EDA also plans to apply for some matching grant funds from the state to market the site, he said.

Liberis could not be reached for comment Monday.