Davenport City Leaders Talk New, Private-Owned Casino Proposal - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport City Leaders Talk New, Private-Owned Casino Proposal

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     Rolling the dice on a new plan for a land-based casino in Davenport. City officials, now teaming up with a local developer to restructure an Interstate 80 casino proposal. It calls for private ownership but still millions invested from the city.
     In the proposal, the Davenport Casino Group would take the lead headed by local developer Rodney Blackwell. Unlike previous deals the city would not own the casino, but would still be on the hook for $33 million. All of it is now in the hands of the Riverboat Development Authority to consider.
     "Every week that boat sits there, $200,000 goes down the river to the St. Louis corporation that owns it now. It's time for a change," said Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba.
     In March, city leaders halted plans to buy Rhythm City and build a land-based casino. The Riverboat Development Authority, which holds the casino license, has since been quietly reviewing private developer proposals. Now, there's one more hand in the game. 
     "We went back to the developer we had the RFP with and asked to come up with a private version of that," said Alderman Bill Boom.
    It's a $143 million dollar investment total, with the city paying $33 million of that for land, infrastructure and buildings on Interstate 80. The city would not have ownership, but once it's up and running officials say revenue will increase by more than $10 million per year.
     "I actually liked plan A better where we did own it," said Alderman Bill Edmond, "But this is a very good deal for the city and also the RDA along with Scott County and the Davenport school district."
     Developer Rodney Blackwell submitted this plan to the RDA. President Mary Ellen Chamberlin declined to comment on this proposal as members are still going over several others. City leaders say now it's a waiting game but they hope the process goes public sometime soon.
     "Lay them on the table, compare them, if there's a better deal we'll certainly be glad to look at it," added Mayor Gluba.
     We tried to contact developer Rodney Blackwell, but our call was not returned. Several weeks ago city leaders decided to hold off on requesting a public meeting with the RDA on the casino progress.