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Officials voice support for Branson-style resort in southern Illinois

By AP/KWMU

Pinckneyville, Ill. – Officials in Perry County, Illinois have given the thumbs up to a development firm's plan to build a resort near the southern Illinois town of Pinckneyville.

On Tuesday the county's three-member board of commissioners signed off on a resolution supporting the project.

The Toney Watkins Company wants to swap 2,000 acres of land near Pinckneyville for a chunk of the nearby Pyramid state park in hopes of building a resort similar to one in Branson, Missouri.

Environmental groups have questioned whether giving up park land is a good idea.

But board Chairman James Booker says the development is essential for the economically distressed area, which recently lost its biggest employer and 440 jobs with the closure of a plant that made DVDs and compact discs.

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