Some state lawmakers have expressed concern at the continued lack of hard information from the enigmatic company. But political leaders around Pinckneyville — a rural community of 5,400 about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis — remain optimistic.
"I really believe it's going to happen. They've spent so much time and money already. ... This is really going to go,'' said Perry County Board Chairman Jim Booker. He said company president Anthony Watkins met with him in nearby Du Quoin last week to assure him the company was still pursuing the project.
The company wants to build a $100 million convention resort complex in the vein of Branson, Mo., which would include music venues, golf, a BMX bike-racing facility and other amenities. The project could ultimately involve 5,000 acres of land — roughly 10 times the acreage of Six Flags amusement park in Eureka.
Meanwhile the only official news release on the company's website dates back to Oct. 4, 2005 when the titular Toney Watkins was about to make a presentation to the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce on his MetroEast development project.