Casino proponents back 143-foot high derrick
December 21, 2007
Residents got a sneak preview of the 143-foot oil derrick, cabin, landscaping and rustic trail -all part of the trademark designed for Jethro Bodine’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino – in Indian Hills this week.
Some expressed reservations about the height of the derrick and others embraced the concept at a meeting in Indian Hills on Tuesday night.
“It’s going to happen, and it sounds like a good idea,” said Indian Hills resident Michelle La Fontaine. “I just hope that derrick isn’t too big. I hope it won’t affect the neighborhood too much.”
About 30 residents showed up for the meeting, an informal discussion with project spokesman Don Smit and developer Max Baer Jr.
“We need to give people a reason to come and a reason to stay,” he said. “We need something different than anywhere else and we accomplish that through branding.”
Branding is critical to this project and the derrick will stand at the intersection of Topsy Lane and Highway 395 as the icon for the project, Smit said.
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Dianne Humble-Fournier, one-time trustee for Indian Hills General Improvement District, said she wasn’t worried about the derrick’s height.
“The derrick is open and the structure is beautiful,” she said. “It’s a great casino. I think they’re doing a wonderful job.”
Located on about 23 acres between Topsy Lane and Sunridge Drive, the proposed $120 million casino and spa received approval for height variances, a zoning change and gaming-use permit. A height variance for two 143-foot, 12-story hotel towers was approved by the Board of Commissioners in August, but most felt the 200-foot oil derrick and 2,600-square-foot readerboard were too much for the Indian Hills neighborhood.
The derrick has been the subject of revisions for months and commissioners will consider the new plans during their regular Jan. 3 meeting, Smit said.
• Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 211.
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