County Planners Praise Casino, Neighbors Don't Agree

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

PENDLETON COUNTY -- The West Virginia Senate just passed a bill to build a casino in Pendleton County and that project could bring millions of dollars to the area. The casino would be built right by the Fisher Mountain Golf Course in Franklin.

While county administrators say this would be a good idea, some neighbors who live nearby don't want a casino near their homes.

"I think that it would have a negative impact in the community as a result of the traffic that it would bring, the type of people it would be bringing into the area," said Russell Vanmeter, a neighbor nearby.

Vanmeter said the resort would take away from the rural atmosphere that most people are used to, but Larry Rexrode, a member of the Economic Development Authority for the county, disagrees.

"No county stays the same. You're either moving forward or you're moving backwards," said Rexrode.

Rexrode said Pendleton County has been moving backwards for decades, losing population and jobs. He said a casino would be a $60 million dollar boost to the economy. The plan would add more than 300 jobs, bring business to the area and add more than 1,000 homes. Rexrode said that's a lot of benefits and County Commission President Gene McConnell agreed.

"It doesn't require us to make huge investments in infrastructure. These people are going to come in, they're going to build their own infrastructure, so it's kind of a win-win situation for everyone," said McConnell.

Rexrode said most people in the county have to drive more than an hour away to find work. Along with adding jobs and business, he said a casino would improve the area's tax base.

It's great for the economy, but not necessarily for all the people who live nearby.

"A ski slope or something of that nature, yes, you know, something that would enhance the golf course and that resort area would be fine, but a casino? I don't think that's what we need around here," said Vanmeter.

That casino wouldn't be built until the bill passes the House, so right now it's just an idea.


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