Casino proposes to move gaming inland in Port City

GREENVILLE — Trop Casino in Greenville has proposed moving its operations on Lake Ferguson onshore, locating a new restaurant to the waterfront and taking about half of Schelben Park from the city to add parking and create a family-oriented outdoor entertainment area.

The Delta Democrat Times reports that the city council could consider the proposal as early as Tuesday.

The casino and its parent company, Las Vegas-based Tropicana Entertainment Inc., told city officials this past week that the plan is to enhance Greenville’s underdeveloped lake front.

“We are trying to create a better environment for gaming and for families. We are not expanding gaming, just taking it off the boat,” said Chuck Coleman, Tropicana Entertainment’s vice president for development.

The Trop’s proposal calls for moving the 580 slot machines and seven table games it operates on the floating facility to a facility to be built on the shore directly south of the current lakeshore facility, Coleman said.

The proposal includes a fine-dining restaurant with a non-casino entrance for family access to be built above a two-level parking structure.

“The addition will contain a 250-seat, full-service, sit-down restaurant,” Coleman said. “There will also be a separate entrance for the restaurant so families can come in without going through the gaming area.”

“This will be a $2 million expansion just for the two-level parking deck,” Lance Millage, Tropicana Entertainment’s chief financial officer, told the council. “We want to demonstrate our long-term commitment to Greenville.”

The proposal calls for a new lease between the Trop and the city that would allow the casino to absorb half of Schelben Park for additional parking, which company officials said would benefit lake and park visitors as well as casino patrons. The Trop would pay the city $150,000, which could be used for park enhancements.

“We also want to redo the playground, provide a place where families can sit again on the levee side and watch bands. Kids can be playing on the playground and parents can be enjoying the music,” Coleman said.

Millage said while the parking lot would occupy what now is park space, the plan calls for doing so in an environmentally friendly fashion.

“We will save as many trees as possible,” Millage said. “We will replace trees elsewhere to keep the greenery.”

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