The casino is located in the area known locally as Tom Cat Corner, near the intersection of Highway 59 and East 250 Road, in northern Delaware county.

GROVE– With a snip of the ribbon, members of the Cherokee Nation - led by Principal Chief Bill John Baker - ceremonially opened the tribe's 10th casino just outside of Grove.

While Cherokee Casino Grove officially opened on Dec. 19, the event on Tuesday, Jan. 17, celebrated the completion of the construction process which began almost 10 months to the day, from the Monday, March 28 groundbreaking.

"It's a beautiful day in the Cherokee Nation," Baker said. "This is a beautiful building, but when I look at it, I recall that it means 175 new jobs, right here in Delaware county.

"Jobs with insurance, 401k [plans], sick leave, all the kind of things that make Cherokee lives better."

Baker once again described the completion of the casino as a "win-win" for Cherokee Nation leaders, and Grove and Delaware county officials.

"This is a good day for the Cherokee Nation, Delaware county and the city of Grove," Baker said. "This facility will bring more traffic, folks will stay longer and give them one more venue, one more reason to settle [here]

"This facility will bring extra folks and sales tax dollars up and down Main Street. There's a saying that you are either getting bigger or smaller, and the Cherokee Nation is always getting larger."

He called the completion of the casino a partnership between tribal, city and county leaders, which is bringing growth not only to the tribe, but also to northeast Oklahoma.

Harley Buzzard, Cherokee Nation Tribal Council member for District 10, agreed, saying the creation of 175 jobs helps fulfill the number one priority for his district - economic development.

"Take a look at Tom Cat Corner now, because in 10 years, you won't recognize it," Buzzard said, referring to the changes which took place in Catoosa after the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa was completed.

The ceremony, which opened with music from Cherokee Nation National Treasure Tommy Wildcat, also featured a traditional Cherokee blessing by Cherokee Spiritual Leader Crosslin Smith.

In addition to Baker and Buzzard, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskins, Jr., and Cherokee Nation Business CEO Shawn Slaton, as well as Grove Mayor Marty Follis spoke to those gathered at the ceremony.

Follis said he looks forward to seeing what develops in the area during the next five to 10 years, because of the casino.

He joked that he is also looking forward to when tribal officials "knockout a wall" and begin expanding the facility.

Baker responded to rumors concerning possible expansion with a laugh, saying tribal officials only make one "major announcement a day."

About the casino

The new facility, built by RedStone Construction, was completed in less than a year from groundbreaking to grand opening.

The 39,000 square-foot facility, was called a "win-win-win" for northeast Oklahoma, the Grand Lake region and Cherokee Nation, by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

The casino is located in the area known locally as Tom Cat Corner, near the intersection of Highway 59 and East 250 Road, in northern Delaware county.

With a groundbreaking in March and a topping ceremony in June, and soft opening in December of 2016, the facility located north of Grove and Sail Boat Bridge on Grand Lake, adds more than 170 jobs to the area.

Modeled in part after the facility in Fort Gibson, Cherokee Casino Grove will include electronic machines, a full-service bar, a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, an outdoor patio, a venue for live music and a space for private and community events.

Willie Whitekiller serves as the general manager. Randy Ligon of Grove serves as the chef of the new, yet-to-be-named sit-down restaurant, which features a breakfast menu, lunch menu of sandwiches and burgers and a dinner menu with steaks, chicken and seafood.