Potential plan for Harrah's land

By Evan Johnson - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - An attraction that once lured tourists to the Lake Area now has them simply passing by.  The former Harrah's Casino, the city's first riverboat casino, has been sitting idly off of Interstate 10 since Hurricane Rita.  Pinnacle Entertainment owns the land and is now considering donating it to the City of Lake Charles.

Mayor Randy Roach says, "This is something we have been discussing for several months.  It has yet to be approved by the Board of Directors of Pinnacle and of course we have yet to have a formal offer that I could submit to the city council."

Pinnacle wants to give this land to the city instead of paying a $5 million impact fee for infrastructure costs caused by the proposed $400 million Sugarcane Bay project.  The city is considering re-developing the land and using it as part of lakefront development, but there's still a lot of unfinished business.

Roach says, "We still have to evaluate the condition of the property to determine whether or not it is actually worth $5 million in its current condition or whether or not the property needs to be either remodeled or whether the property should be torn down."

In addition to deciding what should be done with the five to eight acres of land, the city also has to think about potential problems.  One of those problems is flooding.

Roach adds, "It's right there on the lake and it's very susceptible to storm surge because we've seen it flood twice in the last four years. So obviously any long-term use of that property has to consider what you would do to mitigate that flooding problem."

The City of Lake Charles has yet to receive an official offer for the land, but if it does what has now become an eyesore could soon be transformed back into a tourist attraction.

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