Horseshoe Casino Promises Funds for Environment Developers Vow to Keep Earth City Acreage `Pristine'

Article excerpt

A prospective casino developer is seeking to appease environmentalists who have gone to court to block its Earth City project.

Developers of the Horseshoe Casino Hotel Resort are promising to set up a foundation, which would hold $500,000 to $1 million a year in casino revenues to spend on land conservation and other environmental causes. Some of the money also could go for such nonprofit causes as education and job training.

Martin Green, an attorney for the proposed resort, said the foundation would be administered by a 9-member board, with one member from an environmental organization.

The fund is part of Horseshoe's bid submitted Thursday to the St. Louis County Port Authority.

The Coalition for the Environment is suing the Missouri Conservation Department to try to block its sale of 123 acres of Missouri River wetlands to Horseshoe. A circuit judge has refused to issue a temporary restraining order against the sale.

Horseshoe, Green said, plans to keep most of the 123 acres "pristine" and use only a small part of it - for an elevated walkway and service driveway connecting the riverboat casino with a tract east of the Conservation Department property. The eastern tract would include a 200-room hotel, a 50-space RV park and other amenities.

Horseshoe would give much of the undeveloped land to the county, along with $250,000 to maintain it in its natural state and to build a pedestrian boardwalk.

Green said he has met with Roger Pryor, the environmental coalition's executive director, to talk about the plan. …