Casino plans delayed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 18, 2010

NATCHEZ — The imminent rise of the Mississippi River this spring has postponed plans for the proposed casino development on Roth Hill.

“The river levels have impacted the construction timeline,” Premier Gaming Group President Kevin Preston said Wednesday. “But it won’t affect anything as far as the construction completion date.”

Preston said construction is slated for completion in January 2011, and the rising river levels will temporarily prevent engineers from installing pilings in the bluff, which is necessary to build the 38,000 square foot, one-story casino.

“We’re going to start 30 days later than expected and we’re revising the construction schedule,” Preston said. “It’s a nine to 10 month construction build.”

Because the construction schedule had to be revised to accommodate Mother Nature, Preston will not submit development plans to the Mississippi Gaming Commission until its March meeting.

Both the Natchez Preservation Commission and the Natchez Planning Commission approved the development plans last month.

The city commissions will again review the plans if the gaming commission gives its approval.

Casino representatives first hoped to begin development of the site by summer 2007 and open the casino by early 2008.

A groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled in June 2008 in conjunction with the Country Inn and Suites’ grand opening. Country Inn and Suites is now the Natchez Grand Hotel.

Preston’s predecessor, Natchez Enterprises President Ted Doody, said in a previous report the grand opening was delayed due to the spring thaw.

Doody anticipated river levels to rise, covering the low-lying base of Roth Hill.