Martin: Pearl River Resort will be second to none'
FALLING WATER Tyler Charleston of Demopolis, Ala., enjoys the Creaky Leaky at the Geyser Falls Water Park part of the Pearl River Resort near Philadelphia. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By William F. West / community editor
July 10, 2002
CHOCTAW Tribal Chief Phillip Martin wants the Pearl River Resort to be a big league operation.
The $20 million Geyser Falls covers 15 acres in the 285-acre Lake Pushmataha recreational development. Part of the park is still under construction, but the site was officially opened Tuesday at noon in advance of the Mississippi Choctaw Indian Fair.
When fully completed, Lake Pushmataha will also feature a white sand lagoon with a snorkling experience and a beach club.
It also will have a 180,000 square-foot fitness and wellness center; a 10,000-seat amphitheater; a landscaped maze; a 250-room hotel; and a memorial to Choctaws who served in wars.
Casino opens next
The next phase of the Pearl River Resort is the Sept. 6 grand opening of the nearby Golden Moon Hotel &Casino across Highway 16 from the 8-year-old Silver Star Hotel &Casino.
The $177 million, 28-floor Golden Moon will have 571 rooms, including 112 suites and 32 luxury suites. It also will have five restaurants. The casino will have 90,000 square feet of gaming floor space, 1,750 slot machines and 56 table games.
The Choctaws also run two nearby golf courses created by golf course designer Tom Fazio and professional golfer Jerry Pate.
After the Golden Moon opens, the Pearl River Resort will employ more than 7,800 people and represent a $750 million investment by the Choctaws, Martin said.
Martin said that "when we finish and pay our debts back, the Choctaws are going to have a good, sound economy."
Martin predicts success
Martin believes the Choctaws will be successful with the resort.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is a federally-recognized, self-governing tribe of 8,900 members living on or near 30,000 acres of reservation land in the eastern central part of the state.
Martin said it's been a long road for his tribe from days of poverty in the 1950s to the prosperity of today.
Martin cited his tribe's control over its own land as well as its right of self-determination. He said it's time that tribe develops its land and its people.