'Not a dead issue': Hardeeville city manager still working to bring casino to Lowcountry

gmartin@islandpacket.comJuly 7, 2012 

A proposed casino in Hardeeville is just one of the developments pitched nationwide since a federal change last year made it easier to build gambling establishments off Indian reservations.

The 50-acre complex would be built within the Hilton Head Lakes development off U.S. 278. It needs the approval of Gov. Nikki Haley, but in several public statements since the proposal was unveiled in January, she has indicated she will not allow it.

"I'm not going to change my mind," she said in April. "I know we're looking at bringing more manufacturing and businesses to Jasper, and I think that we can do better."

The casino would be owned by the Cherokee Indians, although their involvement would be minimal, developers say. They would receive part of the revenue, but would not be required to live nearby or be included in the casino's operations.

Joe Brinn, a managing partner of Hilton Head Lakes, said in April that a group of the project's backers would pitch the plan to the governor within 45 days, but the meeting never occurred.

Hardeeville city manager Bob Nanni said Friday he was unsure when such a meeting would be held, but doubted it would be before November.

Meanwhile, Nanni intends to continue delivering presentations to various civic groups to drum up local support for the casino.

"The strategy is, we'll just see what happens and evaluate the situation from there," he said. "This is not a dead issue."

Follow reporter Grant Martin at twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

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