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Oacoma to hold public forum on casino

The City of Oacoma will hold a presentation and public forum May 15 to discuss a proposed off-reservation tribal casino and travel plaza by the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.

The forum will be held at 7 p.m. at the Oacoma Community Center.

Oacoma city officials will provide a presentation covering topics contained in the city's objection to the proposed project, followed by a public forum session. The city government filed an official objection to the project with the U.S. Department of Interior in October 2013, saying the town -- which has 450 residents -- is too small for a project like a new casino of the proposed size.

The casino project still needs approval from the Department of Interior and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard before any construction could begin.

Within the Oacoma city limits, the Lower Brule tribe owns 92 acres of land that was put in a federal trust in 1998. The proposed casino would be located north of Interstate 90 near Exit 260 and has an estimated cost of $52.5 million if the two-phased project succeeded in approval.

The first phase, consisting of a single-floor casino, an 800-seat theater and a nearby truck stop and cost $34 million. An additional $18.5 million phase includes plans for a five-story hotel with 75 guest rooms, an outdoor pool and waterpark and plans for adding on to the existing theater complex.