A game changer for the future of casino life in Davenport.
Davenport city leaders say they’ve restructured the Interstate 80/Interstate 280 casino project to be privately-owned instead of city-owned.
The announcement came on Tuesday, May 7th, 2013.
In a press release, it states that local developer Rodney Blackwell met with City officials to revise the plan: “The revised plan includes a privately owned casino and hotel to be constructed on Interstate 80 by the Davenport Casino Group (DCG), headed by Mr. Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell has submitted the plan to the Riverboat Development Authority for review.”
Blackwell, together with Ingenus Management, wants to build a casino and hotel at the I-280 and I-80 interchange. Davenport City Council voted to begin negotiations with Ingenus in January.
However, in March, the plan faced a setback when the Riverboat Development Authority, which holds Davenport’s gaming license, decided to see if there is a better way to maximize the license without the city’s involvement.
News 8’s Angie Sharp spoke with RDA President Mary Ellen Chamberlin on Tuesday evening. She was unable to do an interview with WQAD, but says she believes the RDA has received all possible proposals, including Rodney Blackwell’s, and they are in the process of setting up individual appointments with each interested developer. She says she hopes to have more information in 2-3 weeks and there could be a recommendation given to the entire RDA Board by the end of June. The city tried to request a meeting with the RDA in early April, but it was denied.
“When are they going to publicly, publicly discuss these proposals?” Mayor Bill Gluba asked Tuesday evening. “You know what this one is. If there’s a better one, we`ll certainly look at it.”
“We find it somewhat perplexing that we can’t seem to be able to meet with them or hear their line of thinking as we go forward,” says Third Ward Alderman Bill Boom.
In an interview with News 8 on Tuesday, Alderman Boom said he is ready to move forward after today’s announcement.
“I think we’ve come to an understanding that there are some people in the community that don’t want to see the casino owned by a city,” he said. “Moreover, it’s the private gaming industry that doesn’t want to see a casino owned by a city.”
Alderman Boom says the private version of the casino project does almost as much as the city ownership plan. In the press released, it states the private version would increase annual revenue to “the City, RDA, Davenport School District, and Scott County by nearly $14 million.” Click here to see the numbers.
“We’ve talked about possible uses for that money,” says Alderman Boom. “I know a lot of people are expecting us to be able to hold the line on taxes and fees and we would love to be able to do that.”
“Everybody gets money,” says Mayor Gluba. “It’s a win-win for everyone and so we’re very excited about it. We think it makes sense and we’ll see where it goes.”
If the plan is chosen, the city would invest $33 million for land, infrastructure, and buildings.