To visit the Mohegan Sun resort in Uncasville, Conn., is to catch a glimpse of Kenosha’s future.
Outstanding craftsmanship performed by local workers. Impeccable service by well-paid employees. Top-quality entertainment that draws visitors to the area and other nearby attractions. A strong and involved community partner.
Kenosha has heard a lot about the Mohegan Tribe over the past several years, ever since the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin announced its proposal to build a world-class entertainment center and casino at Dairyland Greyhound Park.
The Mohegan Tribe is the developer for the Menominee project and will serve as manager for its first seven years of operations.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the Mohegan leaders when they’ve visited town. I’m always impressed by their dedication to the Menominee, by their interest in supporting the Kenosha community and by their business experience, acumen and philosophy.
I was already impressed before I visited the Mohegan Sun along with other Kenosha business leaders last month. When I arrived, I was blown away.
The Mohegan Sun – the current facility and its $1 billion expansion scheduled to open in 2010 – is a shining example of the many positives the Menominee entertainment center can bring to our community.
Let’s start with the jobs. The Mohegan Sun employs more than 9,000 people, 1,500 of whom have been with the resort since it opened in 1996. Employees earn above-average pay and receive excellent medical coverage and other benefits, including free meals and uniforms, access to an exceptional 24/7/365 fitness center, indoor parking and more.
The Mohegan’s commitment to their employees carries over to the Menominee. The Kenosha facility’s nearly 3,000 employees will earn excellent wages, along with health, dental and vision insurance; meals, subsidized child care and other benefits.
Additionally, the Menominee have signed a historic agreement with local labor groups that will allow employees to organize, if they choose.
Just as the Menominee have developed solid relationships with the City of Kenosha and Kenosha County, the Mohegan Tribe has strong, cooperative relationships with its neighboring municipalities. The Tribe’s police, fire and paramedic squads often provide mutual aid to state and local agencies. The Mohegan Sun HazMat team is the first responder to all hazardous material calls in eastern Connecticut.
The Menominee have committed to working with local companies and vendors on the Kenosha project – both during construction and after completion. That "buy local" commitment is at work today at the Mohegan Sun. The resort purchases millions of dollars a year in goods and services from local companies.
As I toured the Mohegan expansion site, I talked with a number of Connecticut contractors and laborers who are proud to work on the Tribe’s high-profile construction project.
In addition to supporting local businesses, the Mohegan Sun helps draw visitors to local attractions. The resort notched 11 million visits last year for concerts and events in the Mohegan Sun Arena, conferences and conventions, dining in gourmet restaurants operated by celebrity chefs, gaming at its two (soon to be three) exciting casinos, visits to its beautiful spa and more.
Local destinations such as Mystic Seaport and Mystic Marine Aquarium benefit from the increased tourism, as well.
I could tell you more – about the Mohegan Sun’s commitment to renewable energy and recycling; about its partnerships with local schools and charities; the list goes on. Suffice it to say that the Mohegan Tribe is doing something very right. It’s a great model for the Menominee project and I, for one, could not be more excited to see what works in Connecticut work right here in Kenosha.
David Gallo is operations manager for Lee Plumbing Mechanical Contractors Inc. in Kenosha.