Davenport Casino Update: Questions Being Answered - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Casino Update: Questions Being Answered


Davenport moves forward in its quest to buy the Rhythm City casino.

The city administrator says the casino negotiating committee has done a lot in three weeks.

Background checks on Ingenus have been started and are nearing completion.

Different sites along I-80 for the casino have been analyzed.

Better financing models are being investigated, to reduce taxpayer risk.

A handful of residents voiced concerns about the casino plan after a half hour update from the council negotiating committee. The biggest among them, time.

Alderman Gene Meeker says, "I know it looks awful fast for a lot of people out in the public who are not involved in attending as many meetings and study sessions as we do but we've been at this a long time."

He says the city is doing its best to lower the costs for it's taxpayers. Working with Ingenus and three other downtown property owners to find a cheaper fit for the proposed boutique casino. It's also looking at ways to avoid issuing bonds to buy Rhythm City, instead looking at interest only loans.

"Maybe you might just want to pay the interest for a couple years, build up a reserve so when you have to make the payments you have a reserve," says Meeker.

The committee is also wrapping up its background checks on Ingenus. Aldermen Jeff Justin says Ingenus' previous application to build an Ottumwa casino helps move the process forward.

"They were kind of vetted through that process and when they do their DCI background check for the state they have to divulge all their information and that," says Justin.

Checking off important questions as the city moves through its list.

We also asked the aldermen if they were gathering enough input from the public.

They said yes, residents are coming to them with questions.

Which they're answering with their updated information.

Aldermen Meeker says calls for a public opinion poll are unhelpful.

"If we take a poll from different people we'll get those that could be opposed, we'll get those that support, we'll get support and opposition, then what, we're right back where we were again."

The city still needs to approve a development agreement with Ingenus to move forward.

The Riverboat Development Authority and DCIC also need to approve their operating agreements.

The city wants to submit its purchase application to the state by March 7th.

Allowing the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission the opportunity to approve the purchase by June.

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