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Davenport’s Casino Plan Starting To Take Shape

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Davenport city leaders say they could be just months away from asking for approval of their casino plan from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

On Wednesday, February 20th, 2013, City Administration Craig Malin updated aldermen and the public on what is going on right now to get to that point.

The Davenport Community Improvement Corporation, the non-profit organization created by the city to operate casino, has completed criminal and financial background checks on Ingenus Management. Ingenus' proposal includes a casino and hotel in the Interstate 280/Interstate 80 corridor.

Tonight, alderman approved a Hold Harmless Agreement for members of the DCIC, which allows them to be protected as they start negotiations with Ingenus.

Meanwhile, city council's negotiating team is talking with at least three other downtown property owners on the idea of having a smaller casino in the downtown area. They are also looking at different finance options for the city. Alderman at Large, Gene Meeker, says the goal is to reduce the cost and risk to the city if this plan is approved by the IRGC.

"It's a big issue," Alderman Meeker told News 8 on Wednesday night. "It's a lot of money, but we have looked at this really hard and we're convinced that the new casino on the interstate location of 280/80 will generate sufficient revenue to pay off and retire any kind of costs associated with the new casino."

The negotiating team had also other locations on I-80 for sites with better visibility, accessibility, and utilities, but have decided the original I-280/I-80 spot is the best. However, there will need to be some work done. City Administrator Malin says the city would have to build a force main from the site two miles east to connect to the sewer line.

"We still have a long way to go on this process, but we're optimistic and we want to continue to work and we want to keep our citizens informed as much as we can of the progress we're making," says Alderman Meeker.