Officials in DeSoto County welcomed the news that the shuttered Harrah’s resort in Tunica will soon be redeveloped into an entertainment complex with a water park and other family-friendly amenities that could employ 650 people when completed.
Tunica Hospitality & Entertainment, LLC and Milwaukee-based Summit Smith Development announced on Wednesday, March 31, that the $140 million project will breathe new life into the property and include a 20-acre water park and youth complex, 18,000 square foot spa and salon, and a 50,000 square-foot convention center and 37,000 square foot arcade. The two existing hotels will also be renovated and have more than 1,000 rooms.
The development will also have an 18-hole golf course by architect Rees Jones, a 100 acre-private lake, a 750-acre sporting clay and hunting center; an RV park with 200 spaces, and a boardwalk with dining, retail and entertainment venues.
Walls Mayor Keidron Henderson said the number of jobs the developments would create are encouraging for the county.
"As you know, I'm an operator in Tunica," said Henderson. "To have another reason for increased traffic for Tunica is a great thing."
Henderson expects Walls residents to welcome the news of the new attractions after time spent quarantining.
"It's family friendly, something for children to do, what kid wouldn't get excited over a big water slide?" Henderson said. "As the world opens back up, I think people will be chomping at the bits, locally, to get out of their home and check it out."
Another DeSoto County mayor whose city is within driving distance of Tunica agrees.
“That’s great news for Horn Lake and DeSoto County,” said Horn Lake Mayor Allen Latimer. “I’m glad to see them get something going down there.”
Latimer said many residents in Horn Lake work or travel to Tunica and he expects this new development to offer employment and even more opportunities to people in the city.
“Their plans sound wonderful,” Latimer said.
Hernando Mayor Tom Ferguson said, "Any positive move of commerce is a great thing."
Ferguson is added he was pleased with the news and expected the plans to benefit all of DeSoto County in conjunction with Tunica.
Harrah’s Tunica Resort closed in 2014. Developers hope to complete the first phase of the development which includes the water park by summer 2022.
Texas-based Aimbridge Hospitality, LLC. will manage the resort.