EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (AP/WTNH) – Leaders of Connecticut’s two federally recognized Native American tribes are pushing ahead with plans to build a casino, despite delays in federal approvals.
The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes took the first step Monday toward demolishing an old movie theater, the planned site of their jointly owned gambling facility.Related Content: Tribes to join in demolition ceremony at casino site
More than 100 people cheered when a piece of heavy equipment knocked the first bricks from a corner of the abandoned theater.
The tribal chairmen are urging Connecticut lawmakers to stand by legislation they passed last year allowing the casino to be built. They’ve argued it’s needed to compete with a new MGM casino, opening soon in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.Related Content: Battle over 3rd casino starts all over again
Lawmakers from Bridgeport and other cities are pushing for an open casino bidding process, allowing other operators into the state.
The two tribes say the new casino will create 650 jobs for Hartford-area residents and expect that more than 2,000 construction workers will be needed to get the project finished.
Demolition is expected to take six weeks.