This story comes from KJCT TV-8
A Western Slope town may fill its pastures with poker tables in hopes of revitalizing its struggling economy.
State lawmakers are working with Nucla, letting the town know exactly what it’ll take to bring in a casino.
The small town is desperate for local jobs.
Nucla officials say something needs to be done to get its economy back to life.
One resident suggested the casino and now it’s gaining some traction.
It’s just an idea right now, but a casino could be the town’s way to get noticed.
Randi Osborn has lived in Nucla most of her life. She says, “People don’t even know we’re here.”
What’s worse is jobs in this small town are hard to come by.
“There are no jobs,” town resident Jesse Sutherland said.
That means a long commute for some residents, like Sutherland who travels to Parachute for work.
“It’s pretty stagnant. What you got is what’s been here, nothing new,” Sutherland said.
There are only about seven hundred people who live in Nucla. Town officials say the numbers are dropping rapidly.
The town’s state representative, Don Coram, says, “I guess what they need is hope.”
What might bring that hope, along with jobs, tourism, and gaming, is a casino.
Lawmakers are asking if it’s worth the gamble.
“The odds are that they will never get it done,” Rep. Coram said.
Still, Rep. Coram has been working with the town, gathering information on what it would take.
“We’re working with legislative services to get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed so they will know exactly what they’re facing,” He said.
What they’re facing is a nearly impossible climb with a state-wide vote at the top.
But that isn’t stopping people from dreaming big.
“It would be a great idea if it brought jobs and everything,” Osborn said. “We need something like that.”
“I think it’d boost the economy a lot,” Sutherland said.
Town officials say they don’t expect the casino proposal to get very far.
They’re continuing to explore other options to revive the areas economy.