Choctaws top off' Golden Moon

By Staff
HANGING THE MOON With the superstructure of the new Golden Moon Hotel and Casino as a backdrop, Chief Phillip Martin of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians speaks to guests Friday at "topping off" ceremonies for the multi-million-dollar gaming and entertainment facility. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
March 2, 2002
The moon rose over Philadelphia at 3 p.m. Friday as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians held a "topping off" ceremony for its newest hotel and casino.
To the beat of tribal drums, a large crane put the final piece of the globe in place that towers more than 315 feet above the Golden Moon Hotel &Casino, which is expected to be completed in late August at a cost of $177 million.
Choctaw children danced to the drum beat in traditional costumes with the Golden Moon's topping serving as a backdrop. Drivers honked as they passed between the Golden Moon and the Silver Star Hotel &Casino on Highway 16 West.
The new hotel and casino is part of the ongoing development of the Pearl River Resort, which includes the Silver Star and the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club. Other developments will include a water park; laser, light and water show theater; and a museum with automobiles seen in movies and television shows, all scheduled to open later this year. Future developments include a fitness center, an amphitheater, a festival plaza and a memorial to Choctaw war veterans.
The Golden Moon is expected to create 2,000 additional jobs. More than 7,500 people are expected to be employed when the Pearl River Resort projects are completed.
Sergio Bakas, vice president of Arquitectonica, the architectural firm based in Miami that designed the Golden Moon, said the sphere at the top of the hotel and casino will be coated with Teflon. The globe, 80 feet in diameter, will house an observation deck, a restaurant and a lounge. A glass elevator outside of the hotel will transport guests to the "moon."
Bakas said when the firm was first hired for the project, various theme hotels and casinos, like many in Las Vegas, were considered.
Other aspects of the newest hotel and casino in Philadelphia include:
A 340-foot pedestrian bridge with "moving sidewalks" that will link the Golden Moon to the Silver Star over Highway 16 West.
The Golden Moon Hotel will have 571 rooms, including 112 suites and 32 VIP suites within its 28 floors. There will also be an indoor and outdoor pool and fitness areas for men and women with steam rooms and saunas.
The casino will house 1,750 slot machines and 56 gaming tables within 90,000 square feet.
Five restaurants and five lounges will be included in the Golden Moon.
The hotel will also be equipped with a VIP meeting room on the main floor, five meeting rooms on the second floor and an executive board room with teleconferencing capabilities.