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More Support for Cedar Rapids Casino

Close to the leading of your community agenda for 2013 will probably be a specific election, expected on Could 7, to figure out if nearby voters want casino gaming in Linn County.

On Wednesday, the very first workday of the new year, casino backers wasted no time to hold a news conference to say that neighborhood assistance for the casino is expanding and to provide 4 entities an opportunity to voice their backing.

Those 4 are the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, the Cedar Rapids Location Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Making Trades Council along with the Making Pros of Eastern Iowa.

Steve Gray, founder of Gray Venture Partners in Cedar Rapids plus the leader of a Cedar Rapids-centered group of investors inside the proposed Cedar Rapids casino, on Wednesday stated the initial group of 22 investors has now grown to greater than 40. The group incorporates Drew Skogman, vice president of Skogman Households.

“We’re continuing to view a lot of interest make in the community behind this project,” Gray mentioned at Wednesday’s news conference.

Gray mentioned the interest is coming due to what he said the casino will imply for Cedar Rapids: an $80 million to $100 million investment; 360 full-time jobs, with an common wage-and-benefit package of $42,000 a year; 130 short-term construction jobs; more than $100 million more than 5 years in new income to state and local governments; $2.four million to $4 million a year in grants to worthwhile community tasks.

Additionally, Gray said the casino will be a “lively, entertaining and relaxing place” even for those who don’t choose to gamble there.

Doug Neumann, executive vice president with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, mentioned the Alliance was supporting “this distinct initiative from this distinct investment group” to bring casino towards the Cedar Rapids location. The alliance has declined in the past to support an additional casino proposal, he noted.

“This proposed development, ownership and investment structure assists guarantees this casino would benefit the Cedar Rapids regional economy by generating very good jobs, contributing to community development and encouraging further financial redevelopment and investment,” Neumann mentioned.

He said the alliance’s Business enterprise Support Innovation Council plus the alliance’s board of directors each unanimously voted to assistance the current Cedar Rapids casino project.

Each groups had been “greatly moved by compelling financial data” associated with jobs, investment and neighborhood grants that should come with a casino, Neumann said.

Both the Creating Trades Council as well as the Building Pros of Eastern Iowa, a non-profit group of union contractors and trades members, have assisted using the petition drive now beneath technique to get the casino query in front of Linn County voters, Marcia Rogers, communications director for the Vote Yes Linn County campaign, stated on Wednesday.

She and Gray stated the petition drive was going effectively, and Gray stated they would safe greater than the necessary signatures.

Gray said his investor group, Cedar Rapids Development Group LC, continues to plan for a May perhaps 7 vote in Linn County, that will be followed with a request for the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission for any Linn County gaming license, he stated.

Construction on a casino could start in late 2014 using the casino opening coming in late 2015 or early 2016 if the nearby vote succeeds as well as the license is granted, Gray stated. He had no update on where in Cedar Rapids or the metro region a casino might be built.

Dave Hogan, president with the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Constructing Trades Council, said his members have seen how casinos in other communities have led to new construction and developing renovations on account of the casino.

“This means a lot to our trades and our members,” Hogan stated.
Matt Olmstead, of Developing Pros of Eastern Iowa, stated his group was “excited for the economic gains” that a casino would bring towards the community.

Marilee Fowler, president/CEO on the Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, on Wednesday stated she lived in Dubuque some 20 years ago when Dubuque secured the very first license for casino gaming inside the state. In her time in Cedar Rapids, people repeatedly have asked her why Cedar Rapids can’t have the kind of “beautiful” redevelopment tasks that Dubuque’s riverfront has seen, she stated.

“And my standard answer (has been), ‘We can do these, too, if we have a casino,’” Fowler mentioned. “A casino is one on the best corporate citizens you can have in the community.”

Fowler said a casino did the same for Evansville, Ind., where she worked before coming to Cedar Rapids in 2010.

 
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