I know we've hashed this before and I don't usually cut and paste, but I just found this article from a paper from 2003. Thought y'all may enjoy.
DANNY MCKENZIE: There's more to Tunica these days than gambling
12/10/2003 5:07:17 PM
TUNICA - While this Mississippi Delta town proudly bills itself as the "The South's Casino Capital," gambling isn't the only thing going on around here.
No one disputes the nine casinos in Tunica Resorts - a.k.a. Robinsonville, just up the road from downtown - are the main drawing card, they are no longer the only attraction.
It's not necessary to spend all day and all night on a casino floor, feeding the machines or feeding faces (there are more than a few restaurants around). There are plenty of non-gambling spots to leave cash behind.
Make no mistake, though, it's the gambling that has made Tunica ... well, Tunica. Consider:
- A $38 million expansion of the airport (with more to come).
- A $26 million state of the art (and beyond) Tunica RiverPark. (You won't believe this thing.)
- A soon-to-be-open $12 million Tunica National Golf & Tennis Center. (A public facility to go with the two other resort golf courses.)
- Not one, not two, but five - count 'em, five - community centers for public recreation and meetings ... worth $7 million.
- A soon-to-be-open $5 million Tunica Aquatic Center (Olympic size pool and diving towers ... can you spell "training site"?)
- Tunica Arena & Expo Center ... a $4 million expansion of the existing $24 million facility is up and running.
- A $2 million Tunica Museum.
And let us not forget more than $36 million spent on education (new schools, teacher salaries and support programs); more than $30 million on water and sewer improvements; more than $6 million on law enforcement (including a nifty '57 Chevrolet police car); $50 million worth of new four-lane roads; a library expansion valued at nearly $2 million; $2 million spent on beautification of the Historic Highway 61; and a $1.7 million Tunica County services building to make sure all of the above is taken care of properly.
Let us not forget the improvements to downtown Tunica, including an exquisite Veterans Memorial Park and a U.S. Post Office, built by the city for the feds. (Think about it.)
All of which is not to suggest Tunica, Tunica Resorts (or Robinsonville, if you prefer) and Tunica County combined have become a Mississippi Camelot. It's not. Some attitudes die hard, and they seem to die harder in the Mississippi Delta. The sentiments toward public and private schools still run deep, and that seems to be Tunica's biggest hindrance right now.
But gain is being made on the racial front as well, and it's amazing how, with the right mindset, economic prosperity can affect social progress.
A decade ago, no one ever would have thought Tunica would be economically prosperous. So who's to say what the next decade will bring in terms of social progress?
Danny McKenzie is associate editor of the Daily Journal. His e-mail address is email@example.com.