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Planned CanCan Casino Resort and The French Village in
D'Iberville, Mississippi Pass First Hurdle as Residents Applaud
Project and the Prospect of More Than 2,000 New Jobs

By Mary Perez, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Aug. 24, 2010--D'IBERVILLE -- Jobs, jobs, jobs are what the developers of CanCan Casino Resort and The French Village promised D'Iberville resident who crowded into the nearly full council room Monday to see what the project will mean to their lives and property.

After hearing the details, they loudly applauded the Planning Commission's 9-0 approval of the fast-tracked project. The City Council will vote at a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. today.

The CanCan Resort and adjacent French Village will create more than 2,000 jobs, said Michael Cavanaugh of Biloxi, attorney for the projects.

The original French marketplace concept that was envisioned as a mix of residences, retail and restaurants has become a Disney-type attraction that Vince Spena, president of project, said will be like coming into an old French countryside.

"Along the way there'll be a multitude of experiences on this project," he said. He described a bridge across Racetrack Road, the Boulevard with a colonnade of shops, and a village with bistros, street vendors and entertainment, including horse drawn carriage rides and a tethered hot air balloon. Gardens, a wedding chapel and a 300-room Village hotel also are in the plans.

The Village will be anchored on the north by the new D'Iberville Visitors Center and to the south on the Back Bay by the CanCan Casino Resort

Residents leaned forward to hear more as the developers described roadwork leading to the project. Central Avenue will be the main entrance and will be expanded to three lanes to Argo Street, which will be the main entrance to the casino. A parking garage will be built along Desporte and Gorenflo, which will become one way as it nears the Village.

Variances were approved for the height of three buildings and the hot air balloon, which will be tethered to the ground at a maximum height of 163 feet.

"This project will not penetrate the Keesler height requirement," Cavanaugh said of the restrictions near Keesler Air Force Base.

The developer hopes to complete construction in 16 months of both the village and the casino, but first has to get site and financial approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission. All the property that is needed is under contract or is controlled by the city, said Cavanaugh.

D'Iberville City Manager Michael Janus said $250 million in Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds were already approved by the state and the developer is working to secure the additional financing to start the project.

Even neighbors who said they worried about the impact of the project on their lives and property said they supported the project for the city. Paul Seymour, whose family operates Seymour and Sons Seafood, wanted assurances trucks would have access to his business during construction.

"Mostly I'm against it but I am not going to stand in the way of progress," he said.


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