Opposition to Casino Near Elementary School - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Opposition to Casino Near Elementary School

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BILLINGS -

A request to build a casino that serves alcohol near an elementary school is facing stiff opposition from concerned parents and School District Two.

Owners of the proposed Jack Rabbit Red's Casino are requesting Billings allow the casino to be built within 600 feet of Central Heights Elementary at the Rimrock Mini Mall.

Parents are concerned about additional foot and car traffic coming from a casino that serves alcohol. Billings Public Schools and some parents say the casino does not satisfy the requirements for a waiver. The two properties are separated by a line of homes and the mini mall property is a close walk.

"I remember walking and watching my son leave the front door of my house going across the street to school. And the idea of me leaving for work and him coming home and there's a bar right out his back door, I can't live with that," said Kylan Coghlan, a concerned parent.

But the casino's consulting engineer, Marshall Phil, said the location does fall under the necessary criteria for a waiver.

"The Jackpot Casino that's up on Central is also within 600 feet and you can see that entire structure from school grounds so we feel that we have a better reason for that waiver than other ones that have been provided in the past."

The owners of the casino say the location is prime for business based on the demographics of the area and the popularity of the mini mall.

SD2's superintendent Terry Bouck has filed an opinion to deny the request. The Zoning Commission has done the same. A public hearing on the request will be held next Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. at City Council Chambers.