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Larchwood Hits The Jackpot

May 13, 2010, 4:54 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Larchwood Hits The Jackpot
LARCHWOOD, IA - Main street in Larchwood is just five miles from where the Lyon County casino would be built.  Many in the town of less than 1,000 people say with the new neighbor that could employ up to 700, they've hit the jackpot.

Just five minutes from the South Dakota border, Larchwood is normally a quiet community. But as news of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's unanimous approval of the casino spread, this small town began to buzz.

"I'm not a gambler myself, but I'm on board for anything that's good for the community," resident Kristin Bishop said.

Bishop has supported the idea since the beginning. She's glad to hear it's cleared the last major hurdle before construction can start, bringing more people to the community and its businesses.

"I think it's going to be wonderful for them. We have a lot of family-owned businesses here in town. We have a lot of locals that have put their hearts and souls into these places and having an influx of people is going to be great. Having an influx of business is going to be wonderful for everybody," Bishop said.

Opponents have said they simply didn't want the casino in their backyard. Others have said it's too close to the South Dakota border. But now that it's passed, residents in Larchwood hope everyone can mend fences and support the casino.

"To me, it's a win-win for both states because I can see South Dakota benefiting from this too in terms of travel, employment and maybe some housing opportunities," resident John Folkens said.

"I think that once the naysayers see exactly how good it's going to be for everyone, I think they'll get on board," Bishop said.

During Thursday's vote, one gaming commissioner said he supported the Lyon County site over the other three proposals because it's estimated that 80 percent of business at the Lyon County Casino will come from outside of Iowa.

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