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The Sleeping Giant Group is pitching a casino to a Hayden that is much different economically than the last time a casino was proposed in 1999. The investors are hoping to put the casino near Yampa Valley Regional Airport — pictured at left — just a few miles east of downtown Hayden.

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2nd time around

Some Hayden residents regret passing on casino in 1999

When members of the Northern Ute Indian Tribe arrived in Hayden in 1999 hoping to build a casino, they found a town that was expanding. In that year, schools in Hayden taught 100 more students than they did this year. The Routt County Fair welcomed a record crowd of 2,616 people to the grandstands. Developers were planning a new subdivision, and voters approved a tax hike to pay for a $698,000 library expansion. “We weren’t quite on the fat and happy hill, but we were on our way up to it,” Ray Mazzola said earlier this month about the economy he oversaw as mayor of Hayden from 1999 to 2001. “We were starting to get a couple more businesses into the community. We were much better off than we are now.”

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