Tama County economic development officials say they’re excited about the potential of the casino expansion approved this week by members of the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama. Though no timetable for completion has been specified, the doubling in size of the facility is expected to create between 600 and 800 new jobs. Tama County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deb Calderwood says the expansion will have a big impact the county. She says the current payroll at the casino is over 30-million dollars and the additions of hundreds of more jobs would benefit the entire region. Tama County struggled after the casino shut down for several months in a tribal dispute and then was hit again, losing 540 jobs in August with the closure of the Iowa Quality Beef Plant. Calderwood says the quality beef jobs may soon be restored. She says the closure of the Iowa Quality Beef is temporary and they’re confident the plant will reopen. She doesn’t know when the re-opening might be. The county’s unemployment rate jumped from four-point-six-percent in July to 5.2 percent in August after the plant closed its doors. The expansion is expected to double the size of the current casino.
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