Casino project in North Carolina set to break ground Wednesday

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- A casino project years in the making is set to break ground on Wednesday in a local neighborhood, but it’s not coming without opposition.

There are signs of some activity at this site off Interstate 85 at Dixon School Road. Construction equipment on standby, a tent up and even people were asking us ‘is this the place? It is.

For people living in the area in Cleveland County, they say this could be a lifeline and a boom to business, even though a Native American tribe in the mountains is trying to keep it from becoming a reality.

“A bunch of bulldozers, and people and different things to work with,” neighbor Paulette Smith said.

The area is set to be turned into a casino run by the Catawba Indian Nation, just about 30 minutes from Charlotte.

RELATED: Fed says SC-based Catawba Indian Nation can build Cleveland County casino

Paulette and her husband Robert live just right up the road from the site. They’ve been getting some attention, too.

“About 20 to 30 cars every day. People wanting to buy your land and stuff,” Robert said.

FOX 46 has been telling you for years about the efforts to get a casino here and earlier this year, the Catawba Indian Nation got approval from the federal government for it.

“What’s it going to mean for Catawba? It’s going to be a game changer, for sure, but it would also be a game changer for Cleveland County.

The plans are still facing some push back from the eastern band of Cherokee Indians. They’ve got two casinos in the mountains and they’ve filed a lawsuit.

In a statement, Cherokee Chief Richard Sneed spoke about the groundbreaking, saying , in part, “it’s investors’ money to flush as they see fit, but it does seem like a slap in the face to Judge James Boasberg to proceed now. The facts are clear that the DOI violated federal law in their rushed, politicized decision.”

No matter the back and forth and given a pandemic and the need for growth, the prospect of thousands of jobs on this land is, for many, too good to pass up.

“More jobs for the people around here, and then Kings Mountain will grow then.”

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