Lyon County, IA
Last week, South Dakota gubernatorial candidate Scott Heidepriem expressed his concerns over the new Grand Falls Casino in Lyon County, Iowa. Heidepriem says the casino will take vital revenue away from South Dakota. But how do Iowans feel about his statements?
On Wednesday, Scott Heidepriem made a bold statement on what he believes is an unfair advantage for the house.
"What's going on behind us is a project by Iowa, for Iowa, in Iowa and paid for by the taxpayers in South Dakota," Heidepriem said at a news conference.
The Grand Falls Casino is expected to open next summer. And while not all Larchwood residents were necessarily on board with the project, they seem to agree that Heidepriem didn't play his hand right.
"I was disappointed in him," Larchwood resident Karen Crichton said. "I think he's focusing too much on the Sioux Falls area and not the whole state if he's going to be the governor of South Dakota."
Crichton has lived in Larchwood for the past three years, and she believes Heidepriem doesn't take into account all the revenue Larchwood brings across the border.
"We feel that we give lots and lots to the Sioux Falls community with grocery shopping, clothes shopping, all the shopping centers and the medical community," Crichton said. "And we've always done this."
In addition to the money Larchwood residents say they spend in South Dakota, they also believe the casino will have to hire workers from the state.
"Ever since it started getting built, you hear how much money it's going to lose and everything, but I don't think they talk about the construction around it on the South Dakota side," Larchwood resident Eric Traviss said. "It's a stone's throw away from the border, so there'll be a lot of benefit on both sides."
Heidepriem's opponent, Republican Dennis Daugaard, has said it's too early to tell if the Grand Falls Casino will take money out of South Dakota. Regardless of where the politicians lie, Iowans are happy the new casino could revitalize their economy.
"I'm not too much into gambling, but it brings property values up and everything, so that works out good," Traviss said.
Heidepriem has said, if elected, he will form a task force to look into the possibility of building a casino and events center in Sioux Falls. Residents we spoke with say they're not worried about that because, for now, it's a hypothetical situation.