Grand Island business owners react to casino announcement

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 9:35 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Any time a major announcement comes along, you know the city being impacted will have plenty to say. That’s why we caught up with one couple, who not only owns multiple businesses on South Locust Street in Grand Island, but they also live just blocks north from where a $100 Million casino is being built.

“It should be a good impact for everybody,” said Casey Williams, who owns the Travelodge directly to the west of Fonner Park. “They’re spending $100-some million dollars over there, and that’s going to bring people this way, which when you bring people this way, it’s good for everybody.”

The news of the new casino at Fonner Park spread like wildfire, and for Casey and Misti Williams, they view it as a huge win for Grand Island.

“We always go to Council Bluffs all the time and see exactly the same people gambling and stuff,” said Misti Williams, who owns the Infinity Lounge and Full Circle Venue on South Locust. “I think we’re going to see a lot more people just keep coming through, eating in town here, hanging out.”

As with any major announcement like this, you’ll find some naysayers, but both Casey and Misti think the presence of the casino will make South Locust Street more alive than ever.

“It should be a great atmosphere,” Casey said. “We really enjoy Fonner Park with the horse races and some of the other events that go on out there, so I can only imagine the impact the casino itself.”

If owning nearby businesses weren’t enough, the Williams’ also live just blocks away from Fonner Park, and they say while it might clog up their streets from time to time with extra traffic, it only adds to their excitement.

“Our neighborhood is kind of quiet right now,” Misti said. “I’d like a little action going, it’d be fun.”

“I’m sure the construction part of it will bring some extra traffic and machinery and everything else, but that goes with the turf,” Casey added.

It also probably doesn’t hurt living that close to a casino, especially if you never have to drive.

“Walking distance is going to be easy for me,” Misti said while laughing. “Hopefully I can stay away, a little bit, but knowing me, I’ll be over there quite often.”

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