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Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 8:00am

Savannah Weighs Casino Plan

Updated: 2 years ago.
Preliminary plans for a casino in Hardeeville, S.C. raises questions about the possible impact on tourism in neighboring Savannah. (photo Yostos)

A South Carolina company is planning to build a massive casino resort complex 20 miles from Historic Savannah.

An independent consulting firm says, the project would create about thousands of jobs just across the border.

Hardeeville City Manager Bob Nanni says, a spike in tourism near Savannah could provide benefits to both Georgia and South Carolina.

"People who do visit Savannah may realize a half hour away there's a casino," Nanni says. "They might want to see what it's all about... or the people that visit the casino might want to get down to Savannah.

The hotel and casino would be located in Jasper County, South Carolina.

"The more attractions you have to an area, the more people you get," Nanni says. "Savannah would do better due to historical economic activity that's in the area. "So, I think that Savannah would do better just based on historical economic activity that's in the area."

But city officials stress, plans are still in their infancy.

Permitting could take 18 months and construction two years more.

Several tourism officials and hotel operators in Savannah say, it's still too early to comment on the casino's potential impact.

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