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Casino Hearing in St. Louis County Draws Hundreds

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Supporters and foes of a casino in South St. Louis County filled a gym at Oakville High School Thursday night.

Pinnacle Entertainment wants to build a $300 million gaming and recreation complex on the old National Lead site in Lemay.

Hancock Place School District Superintendent Ed Stewart supports the plan.

He says it will bring in millions for struggling school districts. "The National Lead site is a toxic dump," Stewart said Thursday night. "We finally have somebody after 25 years to come in and clean this thing up, and put something down there. It will benefit the school district. It will benefit the families that send their kids to Hancock."

Labor union members waved printed signs in favor of the casino. They say it will bring much-needed jobs.

Opponents warned of the social costs, including Jane Wilkinson of Lemay. Wilkinson sang a parody to the song "Yes, We Have No Bananas," replacing the actual lyrics with "No, we want no casino. We want no casino in Lemay."

The County Council will hold additional hearings before making a recommendation. The Missouri Gaming Commission, though, gets final say over whether the project in Lemay can go forward.