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franklin county times

By the light of the Moon' New casino part of resort expansion

By Staff
ALL NIGHT POUR  Workers are pictured pouring concrete for the foundation of the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino last week. W.G. Yates and Sons Construction Co. of Philadelphia has a $147 million contract to build the Golden Moon, which is due to be completed in 2002. Submitted photo
By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
March 25, 2001
PHILADELPHIA With construction of the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino under way, the economic horizon of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is expanding again.
Their company, Pearl River Resort, already operates two championship golf courses at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club and the Silver Star Hotel and Casino.
Today, under the leadership of Chief Phillip Martin, the Choctaw tribe is in the process of building another casino, the Golden Moon, across Highway 16 from the Silver Star. Even then they won't be through. On the drawing board is a 283-acre lake they plan to construct west of the casinos sometime in the next few years. Surrounding the lake will be buildings for recreation and lodging.
When completed the Golden Moon will offer 572 luxury guest rooms, including 110 suites, and a 90,000-square-foot casino. Guests will be able to walk between the Silver Star and the Golden Moon through an air-conditioned pedestrian skybridge.
Ground was broken for the Golden Moon in November. W.G. Yates and Sons Construction Co. of Philadelphia signed a $147 million contract to build the Golden Moon and started earlier this year. The pouring of part of the foundation for the massive project was completed Friday after an all-night effort.
It was a massive job. Before the job was finished, 282 truck loads brought in 2,249 yards of concrete and 513 tons of rebar.
Stewart said the Golden Moon is scheduled to be open and operating by the fall of 2002.
Meanwhile, the location and plans for the new lake are completed but the dam has not been constructed. Also coming is an exposition/cultural museum, a water park, a fitness and wellness center and Star-tacular which will combine lasers, fountains, pyrotechnics and water screen projections to create a nightly attraction.
These construction projects translate into new jobs for this area of the state. Stewart described the Golden Moon construction site as a city that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When opened, she said it will need more than 2,000 workers.
Stewart summed it up earlier this week when she said, "Anyone who wants one job can have two."
Another project currently under way is the new "Town Square." The Golden Moon is located in what was once a shopping center for the Choctaw Tribe. Town Square is about a mile east of the casino and has new stores and shops for tribe members. Stewart said a small hotel will be built at that location later.
Martin, in his sixth four-year term as chief, was occupied with business negotiations last week and unavailable for comment.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.