Photo by Kendra Germany/Choctaw Nation
Chief Gary Batton and Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr. join Choctaw Nation Councilmen, dignitaries and community members to cut the ribbon Tuesday, March 21 for the Choctaw Nation Travel Plaza and Casino Too in Heavener.
Ribbon Cutting in Heavener for Choctaw Nation Travel Plaza, Casino Too
HEAVENER – Weather could not have been better on Tuesday to welcome more than 80 people to the new Choctaw Nation Travel Plaza and Casino Too in Heavener. The location at 503 Hwy 59 North is expected to become a popular destination for that region, drawing considerable use. The turnout of Choctaw Nation leaders, tribal members, county and local officials, and residents of the community was proof that the ribbon-cutting ceremony in LeFlore County has been much anticipated.
Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr. said in his introduction of Chief Gary Batton, “Projects like this don’t just happen. They start with a vision of the future and great leadership.”
Chief Gary Batton was quick to give credit to the hard work of the Tribal Council, saying, “Over $400 million dollars has been invested in southeastern Oklahoma” and “the Choctaw Nation has grown to 9,000 employees.”
Chief Batton added, “We want to thank the City of Heavener for embracing us. We’re hoping we can create more economy, more spending … and more people staying here. We need to not let our communities die out. We need to make sure they stay strong.”
The older Choctaw Travel Plaza in Heavener was replaced by the new 10,200 square foot facility, which offers fueling stations for gasoline and diesel (for both road and farm), and features two trucking lanes. Amenities include a full kitchen that serves hot prepared foods and fresh and healthy options. The Casino Too now provides entertainment with 37 games. A portion of the building houses cultural designs and artifacts to promote the Choctaw heritage.
Boynton-William & Associates (BWA) was the architectural firm, and Larry Finch Builders, the construction firm for the Heavener project.
Also, after bringing dozens of construction jobs to the site for more than a year, the finished facility will now provide 18 new jobs, for a total of 38 jobs to serve the Heavener community and traveling public daily.
District 3 Tribal Councilman Kenny Bryant presented a brief history of the property’s development.
We should never forget, Bryant said, about the participants in those early dealings – and about the current council – that it was and is a good group “that works together to try and make the great Choctaw Nation work.”
The project completes another of more than a dozen large construction jobs that have been under way in the past year for the Choctaw Nation in southeast Oklahoma.