Congress came back from their summer break and in a rare moment of bipartisan unity passed a bill to fund the building of a government owned hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Some say the charged and divisive 2016 presidential race spurred together Democrats and Republicans to back the patriotic money-making scheme.
The design plans are ambitious. National Park-O-Rama will easily be the largest complex on the Las Vegas Strip.
The entry lobby and main casino boasts an oversized traditional national park style mountain lodge with 4-story high, whole tree columns.
The hotel includes 4 towers each encompassing a park-themed atrium courtyard simulating popular national park environments:
• A redwood forest,
• Yellowstone's hot springs including Old Faithful,
• The Carlsbad Caverns, and
• An Everglade swamp.
Encircling the 4 towers, on the spacious property, visitors will experience more park landscapes:
• Active Hawaii volcanoes,
• California's Yosemite Valley including Half Dome,
• The Grand Canyon with icons from Arches on the horizon, and
• Alaska's Glacier Bay complete with calving glaciers.
Some critics express skepticism that it is possible to keep this project on time and within budget. Advocates point to the team of highly skilled Disney Imagineers already poised to undertake the mission.
Others question the wisdom of the government branching so boldly into the hospitality and gambling industries.
Congress members responded off the record:
"What have we got to lose."
"I think it's great that Americans can go to one place and experience so many of the nation's natural wonders, without leaving air conditioning. And if the house makes a little cash for Uncle Sam while they are there, even better."
"I like that it has an environmental focus. Think of all those nature lovers stuck in Vegas for some business event or friend's party. Finally there's a place they can go and be comfortable and feel welcomed."
"I'm personally inspired by all of Donald Trump's great hotel and casino ventures. It worked for him. I'm sure it will work for us."
Ground breaking ceremonies will be held in October. Everyone is looking forward to the positive photo opportunity.