Davenport Interviews Casino Developer Candidates - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Interviews Casino Developer Candidates

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The city of Davenport may be getting in the game, but should the city take over a casino? It's been a question since the start, and many other questions remain as Davenport moves ahead with buying the Rhythm City Casino. 

Who should run it? Where should it be located? The Davenport Community Improvement Corporation (DCIC) met today about those questions. 

"They're all three very good proposals," Alderman Jeff Justin says of the three proposals the city got December 20th

Three plans, but only one will move Rhythm City onto land. The next step in choosing one is the interview process, and it'll give the city and other decision makers a chance to dig deeper. 

"It'll be great to get down to the particulars and see the financial piece of it and what it's going to bring to the city," Justin says. 

The interviews will go all day, and each developer will have the panel's full attention for two hours. In that time, each developer will give a 30 minute presentation covering everything from construction schedules and parking to how it will all work with local businesses. 

There will also be time for questions from the interview panel and the public.  

"We've all read the proposals, and everyone I'm sure came out of there with some questions, I know I did," Riverboat Development Authority President Mary Ellen Chamberlin says, "Those are the questions I'll be working on and bringing in, hopefully I'll get at least a couple of them answered." 

To be fair, no developer is allowed to sit in on another interview. 

"It's been relatively thorough and relatively transparent; if people are not informed, it's because they haven't made an effort to be informed," Chamberlin says. 

The panel will be made up of 17 members: the mayor, some city council members, DCIC directors, RDA members, and city consultants and department heads. 

They'll all make their recommendations, but ultimately city council will approve the developer.  Then the whole plan goes to the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission for final approval. 

"We're all kind of in this together, we're just looking forward to seeing what's best for Davenport," Justin says. 

All the candidates will interview Monday, January 7th starting at 9 AM at River Music Experience in Davenport. That meeting is open to the public. Then the next day, panel reps will head to Dubuque to get a closer look at how the casino model works there.

The goal is to name a developer and present a plan to the state by the end of March when the casino's license will be up for discussion. 

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