TERRAL - Another new casino will soon go up, just north the Red River.
The Chickasaw Nation has broken ground on a 36,000 square foot facility in Terral off Highway 81.
And while it is making some residents and business owners excited, some are not so happy because they are losing some of their lawns and old trees to progress.
That's because crews are putting in new electric lines and they don't need residents' permission to do so because the land is on the easement of old U.S. 81, though that highway was moved decades ago to the West.
The new electrical lines for the casino required trees in front of Sharon Keith's home to be cut down. Trees, that brought back fond memories of her daughter who was murdered in 2003.
Construction is underway for a new $10 million casino just South of Terral on Highway 81.
"We're hoping they'll bring business in town and they'll be employees hired from not only from here but from other towns as well," said Terral Mayor Vicente Villarreal.
Villarreal said he, along with other trustees were approached by the Chickasaw Nation for consent to build a casino.
According to a PR firm for the Chickasaw Nation, the casino is estimated to bring 150 new jobs and more than $3 million in annual payroll.
Plans for the 36,000-square-foot facility include over 600 electronic gaming machines, 6 table games, a retail shop and restaurant.
Friday, a power company, began the process of adding and updating electrical lines throughout the town, which caused Keith to lose trees in front of her home.
"To some people, OK it was a tree, big deal," said Keith. "Yes, it is a big deal. It made money for us every year, my kids played on it."
The 100 year old pecan tree, being cut down, was loved by Keith and her family, as it reminded her of her daughter Samantha Jo Lezark, who was murdered in Wichita Falls in 2003.
Keith said she also understands the windfall of benefits the casino can bring to her small town.
"And they're talking about putting in a hotel, which will be good for the community I'm sure," Keith said. "It's dying, we don't have any stores."
She said she just hates she had to lose something that meant so much to her in the process. And because of that, Mayor Villarreal said he wants to put up a memorial for Samantha where the tree once stood.
Construction of the casino is slated to wrap up in 2018.
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