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Casino Plans for Warren County

Warren County financial development leaders are studying the feasibility and interest of bringing a casino towards the county.

Jason White, executive director of Warren County Economic Development Corp., told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday the organization features a responsibility to look into opportunities, which include a casino and entertainment venue, that could contribute towards the tax base and advantage nearby schools and the all round top quality of life for residents.

“As among the fastest-growing counties inside the state, we get a great deal of opportunities that come our way,” White stated. “Given the concentrate and consideration some communities within the metro have offered this, we believed it may possibly be inside our realm to a minimum of investigate whether or not that was even a possibility for us.”

Warren County has almost 47,000 residents, according to the latest census data. The county, just south of Des Moines and bordered on the west by Interstate Highway 35, is definitely the most current area in central Iowa eyed for any achievable casino.

In September, Wild Rose Entertainment approached Urbandale city officials about possibly developing a brand new casino in that neighborhood; the proposal was withdrawn a couple of days later.

Wild Rose started working with city officials in Ankeny a month later on a comparable $150 million casino, hotel and entertainment venue close to the new Interstate Highway 35 interchange at Northeast 36th Street. The next step for that project is usually a presentation ahead of the city’s Plan and Zoning Commission; no date has been set.

White mentioned the economic group is conducting “initial research” by speaking with market leaders and polling residents on regardless of whether they would help a casino in northwest Warren County and, if that’s the case, how they would like casino revenue to be spent.

You will discover casinos in two adjacent counties to Warren: Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino is in Polk County and Lakeside Hotel and Casino is in Clarke County.

Polk County and Prairie Meadows officials for now insist they are not overly concerned in regards to the possibility of one more nearby casino.

Polk County Supervisors Chairman Tom Hockensmith said officials think the required hurdles to get a new casino – a public referendum followed by a thriving campaign to convince state regulators that adequate demand exists to help a brand new facility – are basically also steep for any competitor to overcome.

That’s to not say they aren’t paying interest.

If somebody mounts a critical bid for a new casino, “we would undoubtedly have to fight that, that’s for sure,” mentioned Prairie Meadows CEO Gary Palmer. “I’m certain Osceola would fight it, mainly because that would kill them.”

White stated his corporation has not signed any agreements with developers but has talked to people today inside the market as part of its “due diligence method.”

“Anecdotally, I know many of the people we’ve talked to possess indicated that central Iowa is among the couple of parts in the state where there may be great capacity to attract an additional facility such as this,” he said. “There wouldn’t be developers around unless they saw there was an opportunity for any project to become profitable.”

Though Wild Rose continues to be operating with Ankeny, a spokeswoman stated the firm is open to other conversations.

“Wild Rose is thinking about a central Iowa casino,” spokeswoman Jamie Buelt said. “If somebody desires a casino in their neighborhood, we’re interested.”

In 2004, 54 % of Warren County voters rejected a joint casino boat project with Madison and Dallas counties.

Cumming Mayor Tom Becker is supportive in the notion. “Gambling has grow to be much more acceptable and is definitely an economic advantage for the cities, schools and county. In addition, there’s also the explosion of added development that comes along with it.”

West Des Moines residents have voted against allowing casinos in the past and Mayor Steve Gaer mentioned he does not have an interest in resurrecting the problem at this time.

Norwalk Mayor Doug Pierce said more facts demands to be gathered just before any decisions are produced.

White stated he will speak together with the economic development organization’s board of directors regarding the findings as soon as they’re total to choose irrespective of whether to move forward.

“If our group decides that there’s sufficient help evidenced by polling and our on-the-ground investigation and discussions with people inside the industry, I assume we’ll definitely go out and engage people lots additional,” he said.

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