SOUTH BEND — Money the city of South Bend receives from the new Four Winds Casino is slated to help address needs in education and unemployment.
South Bend received its first payment last month from a revenue-sharing agreement with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, totaling $1.2 million. The agreement was established prior to the opening of Four Winds South Bend, and results in the city getting 2 percent of the casino’s revenue or a minimum of $1 million. The money is split, with 1 percent going to the city general fund and 1 percent going to the redevelopment commission.
Unlike the state’s commercial casinos, Four Winds South Bend pays no state gaming tax as a result of tribal sovereignty.
At Thursday’s meeting of the South Bend Redevelopment Commission, community investment executive director James Mueller laid out a number of possible programs for the redevelopment commission’s portion of that money.
“This is a new aspect this year for the redevelopment commission. Historically we’ve dealt mostly with property taxes, places, infrastructure and things,” Mueller said. “This is more of a people-based investment.”
The city’s department of Community Investment plans to use $250,000 for a local match for the Department of Labor’s YouthBuild grant which provides job training and educational opportunities for residents ages 16 to 24 who dropped out of high school.
The city’s office of engagement and economic empowerment submitted the grant application last month, which could lead to $750,000 in federal money over two years to develop training programs, specifically focusing on construction and building trades. The final decision on the grant, submitted in partnership with Goodwill, is expected to be announced by the Department of Labor by January.