ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - Flooding along the Missouri River has caused millions of dollars of damage to the St. Jo Frontier Casino, which may be closed until October while it is essentially rebuilt, casino officials said.
Since the casino closed in late June, workers have stripped casino walls down to the studs and are repairing nearly every part of the facility. The parking lot was flooded, the casino's floor buckled and significant damage occurred to the casino's gift shop, restaurant and entrance walkway.
"We are expecting that we will get up to, or close to, our $11 million total aggregate (insurance) coverage," said Craig Travers, the casino's general manager.
Some of the nearly 300 casino employees are being paid to help with demolition, construction and repair. Workers drained water out of the casino twice in the last month, The St. Joseph News-Press reported Thursday.
If the river continues to recede, the casino could reopen by Oct. 1, Travers said.
"Until we can get here with building supplies and materials, we are going to reach a point where there's nothing more we can do in the building," Travers said, "All the vertical walls have to be stripped. Dining room furniture will be replaced and we will have a grand reopening whichever month we are able to reopen."
He estimated the casino is losing $40,000 a day while it's closed and noted that is hurting surrounding businesses that depend on casino visitors.
"I'm sure the community is just as aggravated as we are, that not only was something taken away, but there is going to be a considerable amount of (tax) revenue lost as a part of this, to the city, the county and the state," he said.
"If the water came and went, and we could get it done and get it open, it would not be that big of a deal," Travers said. "We are still at the mercy of the river."
Information from: St. Joseph News-Press, http://www.stjoenews-press.com