Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Greene County casino.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Greene County casino. (file photo)

Construction on the new Wild Rose Casino in Greene County near Jefferson is still on schedule despite cold weather construction slow downs earlier this month.

Wild Rose president Tom Timmons says freezing temperatures early in January made progress slow. “That was very difficult for the guys out there — I felt sorry for them actually — to be our there trying to make it work, because it just takes twice as long to do everything,” he says.

But the speed of the work increased as the temperatures went up. “We’ve hit some weather above freezing obviously, they’ve been able to finish the roof off and seal the front,” Timmons says, “which means now we can get some heat in there and seal the heat, which means we can start pouring the floors, the concrete will set up. So, things are really starting to move.”

He is confident they will still be able to hit their late summer opening date. “We’re still on for an August opening, yeah,” Timmons says. “It was touch and go there at the first of the year, but this weather, Mother Nature has agreed with us. I think we are back on course.”

Timmons was at the Racing and Gaming Commission meeting last week to get approval for some issues involving the developers of the hotel that is also being built. “We had to amend the original agreement we had with them, just minor things, some dates. The good news is they will start (construction) February one and they be done by August one,” Timmons says.

Construction started in July at the site at the northwest corner of U.S. Highway 30 and Iowa Highway 4. Timmons has been amazed by the buzz created in the community as the work moves ahead. “The interest by the local people is unbelievable. They actually park across the street and just watch the construction workers, they really do,” according to Timmons. “It’s been great to have that local support.”

Timmons has hired a general manager for the new casino, but says they won’t begin looking for the full workforce until later this year. “We’ll probably be looking at doing some sort of job fair in probably around the first of April, end of March, first of April. And that’s when we’ll start the process,” Timmons says. He had previously said they are expecting to hire around 250 to 270 employees and will have a total payroll of around seven million dollars.

The casino building is projected to cost around 40 million dollars.