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New Casino Could Bring 600 Jobs to Norwalk

A brand new casino, hotel and events center could produce $100 million in income annually and bring 600 new jobs to Norwalk and Warren County, advocates for the proposed project said during its unveiling Wednesday afternoon.

County residents might be asked to vote on no matter whether to permit gambling in Warren County as early as May perhaps 7, in line with members of Warren County Citizens for Excellent Jobs, the group of elected officials, company leaders and county residents spearheading the project. A campaign is under strategy to collect the about 3,000 signatures vital for the ballot measure to move forward.

Wild Rose Entertainment has been chosen to operate the venue, which incorporates a casino, 150-room hotel, events center and bowling alley. Nobody in the business was present for Wednesday’s announcement.

Wild Rose currently operates casinos in Emmetsburg and Clinton and not too long ago made attempts to introduce related projects in Ankeny and Urbandale, however the organization backed off of both right after public opposition became apparent.

Jason White, executive director of your Warren County Economic Improvement Corporation, stated those involved wish to emphasize the project and its influence for residents, not who is going to be managing the casino.

“This was an idea that we in Warren County came up with,” White mentioned. “We want a partner since we’re not professionals, but we’re driving the bus.”

Wild Rose Vice President of Operations Tom Timmons issued a statement following the announcement saying the company was proud to partner together with the Warren County organizations around the project and that the group spearheading the work had “done its homework and put with each other a plan and approach for acquiring a license and creating a first-class project.”

Warren County Supervisor Doug Shull, who also serves as chairman of the financial development group, mentioned the group began contemplating the concept in November 2012 and representatives from the group approached Wild Rose regarding the project three months ago.

Shull stated other casino operators have been also consulted about the project, but numerous have been as an alternative enthusiastic about a moratorium on new gambling licenses. When the public measure is authorized by voters to allow gambling, the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission need to nonetheless challenge a new gambling license ahead of the project can move forward.

There are actually currently 18 state-licensed venues in Iowa, including Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Polk County, 23 miles northeast of Norwalk, and Lakeside Casino in Clarke County, 33 miles towards the south.

Shull cited a 2009 state study, which projected a new casino in the Des Moines location could produce $100.7 million in annual revenue, as proof of a demand for an additional casino in central Iowa.

But gambling specialists disagree on regardless of whether the market place is there; the identical study mentioned that about $43 million of that revenue could be siphoned from existing casinos.

Prairie Meadows and Polk County leaders have vowed to fight an additional casino coming to the area.

The casino will be constructed in the northwest portion of Norwalk near the interchange for Iowa Highway five and Iowa Highway 28. The place is ideal because of its close proximity to those key roadways, Interstate Highway 35 and also the Des Moines airport, advocates mentioned.

Norwalk Mayor Doug Pierce stated the project would bring much-needed improvement towards the city exactly where commercial house accounts for only 20 percent with the tax base.

When the project moves forward, it would give Norwalk’s first hotel and the county’s only bowling alley. “The tax burden falls a good deal on the residential property owners in lieu of the commercial mainly because we don’t have it,” Pierce stated. “We see this as a terrific opportunity to spur commercial growth in Warren County.”

On Wednesday, advocates pitched the casino as a approach to decrease property taxes and strengthen public services and amenities for residents in Norwalk as well as the county in general.

The venue will be required to provide four.5 % of its annual income, an estimated $4.five million, to Warren County schools, to cities and for use as nearby competitive grants.

Nicci Lamb, a Norwalk accountant and mother of 3, stated the project offers the potential for lower taxes and would bring significantly required entertainment opportunities, new dining alternatives and conference space to the city.

“It’s a way to have some entertainment within the community, no matter if you choose to gamble or not,” Lamb, 35, stated. “We don’t have a lot of that in Warren County. It would be good to just not need to transfer all of my economic development funding to Polk County.”

But not all Warren County residents are excited regarding the concept. Dean Levang, 59, who lives just south of Norwalk, made a thumbs down sign at the initial mention of a possible casino. “I do not like it and I don’t assume we will need it,” Levang mentioned. “We have enough gambling with Prairie Meadows and Lakeside.”

Residents last voted on gambling in 2004, when 54.3 percent of people that went towards the polls opposed a measure that would have permitted gaming on an excursion boat in Warren County.

Shull, who worked in assistance of the 2004 project also, stated the group’s method has changed and that he’s optimistic the close margin in the vote nine years ago is usually swung in favor on the existing program.

“I’m encouraged by the 54-46 (% vote distinction),” he mentioned. “To me that’s a great foundation.”

 
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