Malin emphasizes integrity of proposed casino board


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Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012, 10:45 pm
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By Stephen Elliott selliott@qconline.com
City politics will not influence a Davenport-owned casino, according to city administrator Craig Malin.

During a presentation to the Davenport City Council Wednesday, Mr. Malin said he has assured members of the Riverboat Development Authority -- holders of the state-issued casino license in Davenport -- of the integrity of a city-appointed board to direct operations of a proposed land-based, city-owned casino.

The Davenport Community Improvement Corp., which would oversee operations at the proposed city-owned casino, is "wholly dedicated to the task of optimizing the market opportunity of a land-based casino," he said.

In November, aldermen approved Mayor Bill Gluba's seven appointments to the DCIC, including Mr. Malin, Davenport Police Chief Frank Donchez, Ald. Jeff Justin, 3rd Ward, RDA President Mary Ellen Chamberlin, RDA board member Christine Frederick and two community members.

City officials plan to pay the Isle of Capri $46 million to acquire Rhythm City Casino and move it to an undetermined location. Both the RDA and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission must approve the proposal.

Mr. Malin told aldermen Wednesday that city officials have had "very good" discussions with RDA and IRGC members. According to Mr. Malin, he and city staff have addressed 30 questions by RDA members,including the IRGC's perception of Davenport's control over the casino.

The RDA board meets at 4 p.m. Friday.

"Individual IRGC commissioners have expressed concern that the casino not be controlled by the city," Mr. Malin wrote. "The city shares this concern and has structured the DCIC to not be controlled by the city."

Mr. Malin also noted there were advantages and disadvantages to both interstate and downtown casino locations.

"In concept, a downtown location may leverage existing infrastructure, including hotels and parking ramps and existing assets which may be directly connected to a casino, including the RiverCenter, Adler Theater and RME (River Music Experience)," he wrote.

Supplemental assets -- such as the Figge, the Freight House, Modern Woodmen Park, downtown businesses, riverfront parks and festivals -- could provide a destination experience beyond what is readily available on the interstate, he wrote.

Mr. Malin also said there is more traffic downtown than on Interstate 80, and more total travel lanes in and out of downtown "than will ever occur on I-80."

"The disadvantages of downtown are that the traffic is typcially more local in orientation than on I-80," he wrote, "and urban redevelopment is generally more challenging, and space constrained, than greenfield development." He also citedparking as a potential problem.

Developers have until Dec. 20 to submit proposals for a city-owned casino project. Mr. Malin said city officials hope to interview candidates on Jan. 3 and 4.

He also said the city plans to update the IRGC at its Jan. 10 meeting.

After the meeting, RDA treasurer Don Decker, who opposes a downtown casino, again said project requests are skewed toward such a location. He supports a casino off I-80 and notes that Davenporthas agreed to pay Isle of Capri $5 million more if a new city-owned casino is built anywhere other than downtown.

"So you're telling the big hitters, 'By the way, if you want to put this (casino) on I-80, you're going to have to pay an extra $5 million'," Mr. Decker said.

Mayor Gluba said the city's goal is to keep as much revenue as possible within the community.

"We don't want to lose sight of that goal," he said.


















 



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  Today is Saturday, Aug. 2, the 214th day of 2014. There are 151 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Because of the National Fast, no paper will be issued from this office tomorrow.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Attracting considerable attention is a sunflower stalk 15 feet high and still growing in the yard of Dr. C. Speidel on 23rd Street in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The municipal bathing beach proposition came up again at the city commission's meeting and a proposition passed, provided that a locker room be constructed at the foot of 7th Street for the accommodation of the bathers.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for erecting a $14,000 warehouse to replace the frame structure at the rear of the Augustana Book Concern were announced.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Hours for tours of the new Deere & Co. Administrative Center on John Deere Road will be changed, effective Monday.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Tuesday night at the Great Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gave its fans more than they possibly could have expected. The band took the stage at 9:07 p.m. and didn't leave until 10:40.









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