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News

Potawatomi to work for ‘economic development'

SHABBONA - The tribal chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas announced the purchase of a 128-acre parcel at the corner of University and Preserve roads as official today. &#8220We're here to celebrate the reacquisition of ancestral homeland,” Tracy Stanhoff said about the land, which is adjacent to the Chief Shabbona Forest Preserve. &#8220The world is open to us; all economic development is open to us,” Stanhoff said, when asked about plans for the land. &#8220We're just here to celebrate the reacquisition.” Adeline Ward, the property's seller, said she has no idea what the tribe is going to do with the land. &#8220I don't think they know themselves yet,” she said. &#8220They can do whatever; it's their choice.” &#8220This happened just like I thought it would; there's going to be more but they're not going to announce it yet,” Shabbona Mayor Claudia Hicks said. Stanhoff said the tribe is open to buying additional land, but has no plans to do so at this time. &#8220This (land) is priceless to us,” Stanhoff said when asked about the $8.84 million sale price. &#8220It is not because of any economic development that could come of it.” When asked about rumors of the land being used as a site for a casino-resort complex, Stanhoff said, &#8220If it's within the federal guidelines, it's not out of the question.” &#8220We are meeting with federal officials soon to discuss options (for the land),” Stanhoff said, &#8220but we haven't started looking at licensing or rezoning.” The property is in the congressional district of U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who has previously said he opposes a casino in Shabbona. A spokesman for Hastert did not return a call on Monday seeking comment. Establishing an off-reservation casino requires a lengthy review process at the federal and state level that takes years to complete.

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