The city of Polson, Montana, has given an initial nod to a casino project near the Polson Airport. The development took a step forward on Monday when the Polson City Commission approved a resolution of intent to annex tribal land at the site, reports Lake County Leader.
The move would extend the city’s water services to the property. It follows a February request from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to annex a 79-acre parcel of tribal land along the west side of Highway 93.
Officials for CSKT and its S&K Gaming corporation presented the proposal to commissioners at Monday’s meeting. S&K Gaming already manages a series of hospitality and gaming establishments, including Gray Wolf Peak Casino near Evaro, S&K Polson Bay Marina, Big Arm Marina and KwaTaqNuk Resort and Casino in Polson.
Gray Wolf Peak Casino
According to NBC Montana, the Tribes are seeking to move all gaming from their KwaTaqNuk facility, located along the southern shore of Flathead Lake, to a 25,000-square-foot venue at the new site. This includes a total of 270 gaming machines already in operation, with about 30 more to be added.
The proposed project now goes to public comment with a final vote expected in June. If approved, S&K Gaming Chief Executive Officer Bryon Miller told MTN News that construction of the new casino could start as early as late fall. KwaTaqNuk would continue to be operated as a resort once gaming is relocated.
The new project features a first phase that includes the casino, a restaurant, a visitor center, 300 public parking spaces and some employee parking on about 10 acres of the property. Subsequent phases would include commercial spaces for businesses including salons and gift shops.
KwaTaqNuk Resort and Casino
"We have positioned the property and the development of it to add on a future event center that could house up to 500 people, and possible hotel development, too, later on," Miller said, according to Lake County Leader.
The Tribe’s immediate goal is to establish water services for construction to begin. The priority is to get the entire property annexed, and the Tribes will then come back to the Polson City Commission with future requests for sewer.
A plan is in place to have the casino operating by the fall of 2023, according to Miller. The Tribes have already completed an environmental impact assessment for the proposal, and the area is already zoned for commercial use.