Gretna, FL Facing Gamble on Gaming Facility

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

"Do you want a casino Gretna?"

Ramsey Sayed holds no argument to the lack of jobs in Gretna, Florida.

With less than 3-thousand people in the community he says a change needs to be made but adds that change doesn't need to involve a gaming facility.

“It might create a few jobs but also a destructive way for a society, families they are going to lose their income on the hope of winning a few bucks," said Sayed.

And he's not the only person who has concerns.

“We really don't need a casino here, you know, anything like that. I mean it's hard enough trying to keep money you know, people losing their homes and stuff. I mean bringing in jobs, I mean that part is good you know, I like that but I don't like the casino part, the gambling," said Gretna resident, Clara Collins.

About two years ago a mushroom factory called Quincy Farms employed about 100 residents in Gretna.

Its closing added to the already struggling job market.

Now, some residents say this new venture is the breath of life the poverty stricken city needs.

“I think it's going to be great because people need more jobs and need a lot of opportunity to get a job and stuff like that," said Martha Clark, who is for the new gaming facility.

“This is Gretna, there ain't nothing but 1 mile this way, 1 mile that way, 1 mile that way and 1 mile that way," said Gretna resident Ramsey Sayed.

Even before it's construction has begun a gamble is already taking place on how the new complex will fair.

Gretna City Manager, Antonio Jefferson says after the second year of operation, when a retail store and a hotel will be added, they expect a 6 to 7 million dollar impact each year.

Another advantage to the city is the re-opening of the mushroom factory.

Officials say the hiring process will begin some time in March.

Employment projections show 200-300 new hires and officials expect to return to 500 within 2 years.

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