Sneak peek at the Four Winds Dowagiac

In an area where the Pokagon name has deep roots, another of the tribe's markers is sprouting up.

Four Winds Dowagiac is set to open this spring and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians gave Newscenter 16 a sneak peak at the project.

"The fact that we're building this in, essentially, the home of our people is very exciting.," said Matthew Wesaw, tribal chairman. "We have a large contingent of citizens that live here."

The new location is an extension of the Four Winds brand, which already has casinos in New Buffalo, Mich. and Hartford, Mich.

"When we opened up Hartford, it really was a small New Buffalo," said Mark Harkness, general manager for Four Winds. "New Buffalo has 3000 slot machines. Hartford has almost 600. This is going to have about 300."

Renderings for the project were displayed throughout the casino amid construction equipment. The plan is to stick to the same architectural and color themes as the other casinos.

While construction workers brave the winter elements to finish up the project, hopeful job seekers turned out in the snow earlier this month for the chance to call this their workplace

"We had a job fair recently that 500 people showed up for in the middle of a snow storm," Harkness said.

"We had 250 people show up in the first hour, so we were quite busy," said Duane Meyers, senior property shift manager. About 900 people have applied for positions and they are half-way through the hiring process, according to Meyers.

Before the sound of slots can be heard all over this room, there is also time to reflect.

"We've been watching this since it was dirt in the ground and to see it now is very exciting," Harkness said.


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