- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - More than 80 Pittsburg-area community members have gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking of a new casino that was delayed for months because of legal challenges.

Work for the Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel started in July after the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission chose it for a contract, The Joplin Globe (http://bit.ly/1T2jaR8 ) reported. But construction was halted in September after Cherokee County and a firm, which proposed another casino in that county, filed lawsuits questioning how the state contract was awarded.

Cherokee County and the competing business, Castle Rock Casino Resort, sought an injunction to block construction of Kansas Crossing. Lead investor Bruce Christenson and others decided to delay construction until a judge ruled in March that enough evidence supported the review board’s decision to recommend Kansas Crossing.

“It’s been a long time,” said Terry Presta, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, at the event Thursday. He had granted Kansas Crossing three 90-day delays because of the legal challenges.

Presta said that the lottery will do everything in its power to help the new casino reach its full potential.

Cherokee County officials have said they plan to challenge the ruling in the lawsuit. A notice of that appeal has been filed.

“Until this appeal is over, they’re taking a great chance,” said Steve Vogel, a Galena developer who has been pushing for the Castle Rock proposal.

The Castle Rock’s proposal for a $145 million casino was more than twice the size of the proposal approved for Kansas Crossing.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com

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