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Davenport Casino City Wide Public Forum

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A city wide public forum on Davenport's plan to buy Rhythm City Casino has brought lots of questions from people asking why city leaders want to take the $48-million gamble. A lot of questions were answered during a city wide public forum where 40 people filled the Adler Theatre.

"Why all the haste," says Steve Robinson, "It was only announced last week and does it have to be settled in 2 days?"

The time frame for buying Rhythm City was one of the frequently asked questions.

"I know we've been wrestling with gambling for a long time, but last week was the first time we heard about the city buying all of this," adds Kate Patterson.

"We have dedicated hundreds of hours of work to get this point and really one of things we're trying to do is not rush into this in any way," says Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin.

People at the public forum heard a presentation about the buying process. Specifically, how the Isle of Capri, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and RDA all have to approve the sale. However, if everything works out, some wonder what will happen during the building process.

"Since I go to Rhythm City Casino is there going to be a time when you shut it down?" adds a concerned citizen.

"When we finally have a land based facility to move into, then we will move that boat off the water," says Alderman Bill Boom.

The city plans on taking out $48-million of bonds that will be paid back over 20-years. Davenport leaders say tax payers will not have to pay for it, but some want specifics.

"We're issuing $48-million in bonds, which does put a tax payer at risk," says Wayne Varilek.

Malin adds, "The current operation on water generates about $10.5-million in cash flow, the estimated bond repayment is $3.5-million."

The most common question is where the casino will go.

"If you had to move a boat, where would you put it on land?" says Bob Perry.

The city does not have an answer for that question yet. Once council approves pursuing the purchase they will ask private developers for plans and decide on a downtown or highway casino.

The city will hold two more public forums on Tuesday. One will be in council chambers, the other at the Mississippi Valley Fair Grounds. Both public forums start at 6pm. Then council will vote on starting the process to buy Rhythm City at their meeting Wednesday.

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