Dream becomes reality

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have not strayed far from where they first began centuries ago.
In fact, they stayed put and built their casino and hotel, what Tribal Chairman Buford Rolin calls “a jewel in the crown of our tribal enterprises,” right on the very land the former poverty enveloped Tribe farmed as sharecroppers.
Wind Creek, which opened Tuesday to a packed house, is indeed the current crown jewel of the Tribe’s expanding empire finishing at a cost of upwards of $240 million.
That same casino floor is projected to be hosting thousands of people every week as they come to play the 1,600 electronic bingo machines, eat at any of the four dining locations or stay in one of the 236 hotel rooms all located in one facility on the 35-acre lot.
For those who do not participate in gaming, the Tribe made an extra effort to make Wind Creek as accommodating as possible. The facility’s layout was constructed in such a way where guests can come to the casino for dining, hotel stays or meeting purposes without ever having to step foot on the gaming floor.
Brent Pinkston, vice president of marketing and opening property manager for Wind Creek Casino and Hotel, acknowledged some people’s reluctance to visit Wind Creek because it is a casino, but wants them to see its appeal to all types of guests.
The building of the casino has allowed for approximately 400 people to be employed for construction purposes and another 600 to be employed for work in the functioning casino and hotel, as well as at their gaming facility north of Atmore in Wetumpka.
Talk of the impact will have on the Poarch, Atmore and surrounding communities was also a main point of discussion at the press conference.
Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Lee spoke with optimism about the benefits Wind Creek has brought and will bring to the area.
Pinkston too spoke of the positive effects he sees Wind Creek having for the Atmore area.
Still the opening of the casino is not an opportunity for its executive staff to take a break, according to Pinkston.
That next endeavor is something PCI Gaming President and CEO Jay Dorris said is on track to be announced at the Wind Creek grand opening.
Creek Indian Enterprises President and CEO Tim Martin joked, “We’re going to be unveiling our new expansion plans even before the paint is dry.”
The hotel opens for business on Jan. 26 with the grand opening of the entire facility Jan. 31.

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