Steamboat Springs resident Bill Cousins has helped form the No Casino group that is opposing plans for a casino near Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The group has a booth set up this week at the Routt County Fair.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs resident Bill Cousins has helped form the No Casino group that is opposing plans for a casino near Yampa Valley Regional Airport. The group has a booth set up this week at the Routt County Fair.

Group comes forward against proposed Hayden casino

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Reader poll

Do you support the proposal for a casino near Yampa Valley Regional Airport?

  • Yes, it would create jobs and bring money to the area 55%
  • No, it's unlikely to be successful long term 11%
  • No, it would cause problems in the area 27%
  • I don't know enough about the proposal 4%
  • I don't care 3%

1894 total votes.

— A group of Routt County residents has banded together to oppose a proposed Indian casino near Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden.

“We want to put the other side of the picture to the community and really spell out what the negative impacts the casino will have,” Bill Cousins said Thursday. “It’s not all roses like it’s put out to be.”

Cousins, who has been a full-time Steamboat Springs resident for about four years, helped found the group that calls itself No Casino. He said the group has collected the signatures of about 200 residents and visitors in an online petition against the casino. The petition is at www.signon.org/sign/nocasino, where the names of people who have signed the petition are listed.

Cousins, who has been vocal in the local medical marijuana, sandhill crane hunting and Steamboat 700 debates, said he began looking into starting an opposition group after attending a July 30 community meeting in Steamboat Springs. The meeting was hosted by the Sleeping Giant Group, a partnership of mostly local men who are proposing the development of a casino and related businesses.

“I’m not saying I’m trying to stir things up,” Cousins said Thursday at a No Casino booth set up at the Routt County Fair in Hayden. “I’m concerned for the community of Steamboat and the Yampa Valley.”

Cousins said about six people are on a committee that is leading No Casino, but he declined to say who those people were. Cousins said the No Casino group will host its own community meeting to discuss the casino.

According to No Casino’s literature, the group has numerous concerns including the social impacts of a casino and the effect it would have on the Yampa Valley’s image as a family vacation destination. No Casino's literature argues that the majority of any new jobs created by the casino would be low paying and that local services and infrastructure would be “overloaded and the burden to upgrade these facilities will fall on the shoulders of the local community with the need for new and increased taxes.”

“The whole financial aspect of it, it raises a lot of questions,” Cousins said.

Steve Hofman, one of the Sleeping Giant Group partners, said his group knew there would be people opposed to a casino. He said many of No Casino’s claims are unsupported.

“We would hope that the dialogue and the conversation would be informative and substantiated and not designed to influence people’s passions on the basis of unsupported assertions,” Hofman said.

Hofman and Sleeping Giant Group partner Johnny Spillane also released a written statement Thursday responding to No Casino.

“So far our outreach to the community gives us no reason to believe that the effort by Mr. Cousins represents little more than a minority of voices throughout the valley,” the statement reads.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Doug Matthews 1 year, 8 months ago

So is Mr Cousins simply opposed to everything?

I love the idea of the "secret" committee, the gang of six.

How does his logic move from from bringing increased revenue and a larger tax base to the community to requiring "new and increased taxes" for everyone? I'm looking forward to seeing his logic chain on that one.

Even if "all the jobs would be low paying," according to Cousins, new jobs are new jobs, and these would definitely be new jobs. New jobs and new money creating a new economic driver for our community, increasing the total local economy. It's a good thing Cousins wasn't around when Jim Temple wanted to open a ski area....

Personally, I don't gamble, don't go to Vegas, don't go to Blackhawk, don't go to Ignacio, but I have seen the economic benefits to the local communities that result from the increased revenue.

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mark hartless 1 year, 8 months ago

If jobs are all that mattered... How 'bout a huge prison? A bunch of oil wells? A huge strip mine? Build a huge hydro-electric dam on the Elk above Mad Creek? Build Catamount Ski area? Why not start logging in the Routt... oh, wait... too late for that one...

When Steamboat 700 was on the table the argument was for quality of life, rather than a narrow focus on economics; that's all fine, I suppose. I just have to wonder how many of the same folks who vociferously opposed that now favor the casino? Just a question...

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Richard Hagins 1 year, 8 months ago

I amazes me that some people of Steamboat Springs and vicinity all of a sudden have this compelling interest in Hayden. Have you been to Hayden, eaten at the restaurants gone to the County Fair, had a beer with the locals at the HiWay Bar? or Are we just the airport for you? The citizens and Town Council of Hayden will decide what is best for the town.

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Eric J. Bowman 1 year, 8 months ago

"The citizens and Town Council of Hayden will decide what is best for the town."

No, you won't, the Governor will, supposedly by taking into account local opinion in the surrounding area, making this not just a Hayden issue.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 7 months ago

wow...wait a minute - MARK - what about the free market --oh, i forgot you guys only believe in the free market when it suits your interests!!

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