Oklahoma Tribe Has Big Plans

The Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma has announced a two-phase project for 232 acres off Interstate 40 and State Highway 9A at the Earlsboro exit. In Phase 1, the tribe wants to build a 240,000-square-foot casino/travel plaza.

According to James Edwards, governor of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, ground will broken on Phase 1 in mid-May. The first phase includes two convenience stores, a gift shop, salon, arcade, food court, casual fine dining and buffet restaurants, a 100-room hotel, a day-care center for employees and customers, and laundry and shower facilities for truckers.The $50-million casino and travel plaza will create about 900 jobs.

Phase 2, which will commence immediately after the casino opens, includes a 27-hole golf course and a 300- to 400-room resort hotel. The tribe is being assisted in the development by Busey Resource Group, an American Indian-owned business development and human resource company in Oklahoma City. The Absentee Shawnee project is one of three Native American casinos planned for the I-40 corridor; the other two gambling operations are being developed by the Kickapoo Tribe and the Sac & Fox Nation.