July 16, 2008

Tree Removal AIDS Casino View

By Jerry Lynott, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Jul. 16--PLAINS TWP. -- Mid-July and Mill Creek is dry.

It's plain to see now that the trees that bordered the creek have been cut down to provide a clear view of the new $208 million casino at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for motorists traveling Interstate 81.

Timbering crews have been working on the several-acre tract of land between state Route 315 and the interstate in preparation of the casino opening Thursday. The property is directly across Route 315 from Mohegan Sun and adjacent to Midlantic Machinery.

"We own that land," said Bobby Soper, chief executive officer of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

There are no plans to develop it right now, he said Tuesday.

On Tuesday stumps remained where the trees were felled and dried brush covered the hilly terrain along the creek bed. The concrete walls of the Route 315 bridge over the creek were visible.

In the distance the white exterior of the new 300,000-square-foot casino that will open Thursday stood out against the western ridge running the length of the Wyoming Valley.

State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Mark Carmon said that if an erosion and sedimentation plan was to be filed it would have to be with the Luzerne Conservation District.

A district representative said that it has no jurisdiction until someone starts to remove the stumps on the property.

Jerry Lynott, a Times Leader staff writer, can be contacted at 570 829-7237.


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