The state-of-the-art indoor entertainment facility is set to open in 2023.By Ryan Hill

LINCOLN (CBS13) – Dozens gathered on a brisk Tuesday morning at Thunder Valley Casino Resort for the groundbreaking of its latest expansion.

The ceremony was for a new $100 million state-of-the-art indoor entertainment facility, aptly called The Venue, which is set to be completed by early 2023.

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But, it did feel a little weird for some to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new indoor venue coming soon to the area in the middle of the pandemic.

“Considering with everything that’s going on, it is kind of ironic to have an indoor venue open up,” Iona Kellison, who was in attendance at the groundbreaking, said.

“It was very weird because it’s hard for people to picture that right now because we’re stuck in the day that we are in,” Calvin Moman, the Secretary of the United Auburn Indian Community, said.

The 150,000 square-foot facility will have 4,500 seats for all kinds of entertainment. This is the second casino construction site to break ground in recent weeks.

For some, the sight of gold-plated shovels moving a few piles of dirt feels like the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is shining a little brighter.

A sign of reopening happening in local communities.

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“Absolutely. And, I think as we move through the different tiers from the purple to the red tier, and ultimately get (to) orange (and) yellow, and get back to what normalcy is, this is really exciting,” Dawn Clayton, General Manager of Thunder Valley Casino Resort, said. “It gives people energy. And, it says, as we continue to build and develop this, this is what lies ahead.”

“That’s a sign that things are going to somewhat of being normal and we beat the pandemic,” Moman said. “We do it as a team. Everybody wear our masks, social distancing, all of that stuff; all contributes to positive things like this.”

It’s a positive thing as these businesses break ground for venues that used to be normal gathering places as we continue to navigate this unprecedented time.

Some feel this is just another sign of things reopening as we stay vigilant amid the pandemic.

“Picking out the light that you can; focusing on the good things instead of the bad things,” Nash Kellison, Iona’s husband said.

“It kind of feels like with something like this is starting over,” Iona Kellison said. “Starting new things and then something to look forward to. Looking forward to fun things back together.”

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Thunder Valley says that the project will provide more than 200 construction jobs.