Crews prepare ground for casino

Published 12:40 am Thursday, December 1, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Deon Blunt, of Jordan, Kaiser and Sessions Civil Engineers, surveys on Wednesday the site of the new Roth Hill casino.

Natchez — Construction crews are currently working to stabilize the ground at the Roth Hill casino site in preparation for the construction of a second Natchez casino, which is scheduled to be complete next October.

The site’s construction crew worked Wednesday to drill pilings 70 feet into the ground to stabilize the soil where the Premier Gaming Group casino’s 307-space parking garage will be located.

The crew will also anchor 53 12-foot by 8-foot concrete blocks to the side of the riverbank to hold the ground in place so it will withstand the weight of the parking garage.

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Colt Huggins, left, and Ryan Smith, of Hayward Baker Inc., look at the project plans of the new Roth Hill casino Wednesday afternoon.

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Colin Uter, owner of Blade Construction and the project’s general contractor, said the crew had completed 185 of the 232 total piles Wednesday afternoon. He said the crew should be finished with the piling work Friday.

The construction crew has built a temporary road extending off part of the site’s riverbank. Premier Gaming Group President Kevin Preston said crews use the road so they are able to drill the pilings into the side of the bank, and the road will be removed when construction is complete.

Uter said the 20- to 30-person construction crew on the site is a mix of out-of-town and local workers.

Preston said the company is using local companies on the project including Jordan, Kaiser and Sessions LLC, Farmer Electrical Service and St. Catherine Ready Mix.

Uter said the subsurface groundwork will be completed in two or three months. He said the metal building for the casino will arrive on Feb. 13.

Preston said construction on the site began Oct. 28, the day after Natchez Gaming Enterprises received approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission to move forward with the project.

Premier Gaming will seek approval for design plans for the casino from the Natchez Preservation Commission on Dec. 14 and the Natchez Planning Commission on Dec. 15.

Preston said there will be an official groundbreaking ceremony at the site sometime before Christmas.

Roth Hill Road is closed to general traffic. Preston said the road will open up when the casino is completed.

Natchez Gaming Enterprises — an arm of Premier — first received site approval for the casino from the commission in 2007 and approval to proceed with development in 2008. The project stalled during an effort to secure financing until recently.