Cherokee Construction Ahead Of Schedule in Oklahoma

Construction of the $23 million Cherokee Casino Grove in Delaware County, Oklahoma is "outpacing construction goals," said Cherokee Nation Businesses Chief Executive Officer Shawn Slaton. A topping-off ceremony recently was held and the project, designed to resemble a rustic lodge, will open in late 2016 or early 2017.

Signifying the end of the structural phase of construction, a ceremonial beam topped off the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s million Cherokee Casino Grove in Delaware County. Ground was broken in a former pasture for the casino, the tribe’s 10th gaming operation, on March 28.

Chris Samples, president of Redstone Construction, said construction is at least 10 days ahead of schedule. “It’s going at a fast, rapid pace. Our goal is to turn it over to the owners by November 1.” He said construction is moving faster than expected because of the teamwork between everyone involved in the process. “It’s a collaborative effort,” Samples said. Cherokee Nation Businesses Chief Executive Officer Shawn Slaton added the project had been “outpacing construction goals” and expects the fast construction to continue, barring weather delays. The casino is scheduled to open at the end of this year or in early 2017.

Designed in the style of a rustic lodge, the 39,000 square foot property will feature 400 electronic machines, an entertainment venue, full-service bar and event space. The tribe’s second Delaware County casino, it will provide 175-plus permanent jobs. Its other casino in the county, Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, opened in 1994 and employs more than 700 people.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said money generated at the casino will benefit the community with added health care services, scholarships and more. “Anytime you have a win, win, win, it’s a blessing. The price was right, the location perfect. This will create a lot of jobs in this part of the Cherokee Nation and allow us to be good corporate partners with the City of Grove and Delaware County. This will let us become corporate partners on steroids. It’s one more reason this region is a jewel for all of Oklahoma.”

Also at the topping-off ceremony, Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge said, “This will certainly help the momentum that already exists in this corner of the world. This is exciting for Grove. Seeing a small town in Oklahoma getting a shot in the arm is really what matters.”

The tribe also owns and operates six other Cherokee Casinos, as well as the Will Rogers Downs racino in Claremore and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Catoosa.