Local officials announced they have chosen Elite Casino Resorts to develop a $100 million casino resort at Fonner Park.
Elite plans a casino with 650 slot machines and 20 table games, a VIP lounge, sportsbook and show lounge. It also will construct a 116-room boutique hotel with indoor and outdoor pools and a spa and salon.
Dan Kehl, chief executive officer of Elite Casino Resorts, said the casino floor will be big, beautiful and energetic.
“The casino floor will have a seamless connection to the existing Fonner Park. With structure to guarantee guest flow between the casino, racing operations and the convention center,” he said.
There will be “an ice skating rink up there in the winter” And a playground for kids or a Santa Village at Christmastime.
Karlyn Ollendick, Elite’s chief operating officer, said the $100 million project will be a destination casino resort.
Also important, Ollendick said, is the opportunity to “bring back home” individuals who may have left the Grand Island community. And would like to return, possibly to be closer to family.
Of the $100 million investment, $45 million for new construction and about $3.5 million for upgrades to the existing Fonner Park. Officials did not give a timeline for construction or when the casino will open.
“I had an image in my mind, both architecturally, operationally and a mindset of what I thought would be a good fit for Fonner Park and Grand Island. Elite Casino Resorts quickly rose to the top among our impressive list of candidates,” said Chris Kotulak, Fonner Park CEO.