Aldermen want details on new casino proposal
Some Davenport aldermen find a just announced $250 million casino proposal interesting, but they want to hear more details before derailing a deal with an Iowa casino owner set to be voted on this week.
On Saturday, aldermen were handed a proposed $250 million project by Clairvest Group Inc. and Rodney Blackwell’s Davenport Casino Group that includes a casino and 360 room hotel, restaurants, retail and residential developments over 10 years on 250 acres near the junction of Interstates 80 and 74.
The Davenport City Council is scheduled to approve a non exclusive development agreement at its meeting Wednesday with Dan Kehl’s Scott County Casino LLC.
“I need to see the details,” Alderman Bill Edmond, 2nd Ward, said. “I would expect to get these details between now and Wednesday.
“My guess is we are probably going to table (the Kehl agreement) until we figure out what this new deal is,” he said. “After five years or so of looking at development agreements or what have you, we know what these numbers mean pretty quick now.”
Kehl said Sunday the proposal isn’t worth the city’s time because he expects to close on purchase of the Rhythm City casino by the Oct. 15 deadline.
“I do not believe Rodney’s attempt to resurrect his failed plan will see the light of day as we are planning on executing the option agreement within the allotted timeframe and closing on the purchase of the Rhythm City Casino,” Kehl said in a statement Sunday.
Blackwell submitted a casino proposal to the city earlier this year when it considered buying the Rhythm City casino.
The two At large aldermen Gene Meeker and Jason Gordon point out that the Kehl agreement isn’t exclusive, so the new proposal shouldn’t delay a vote.
“We basically have nothing to compare,” Meeker said. “We only have one proposal that I can see. I think we negotiated in good faith with the Kehls and should continue in that way. We’ve got a long way to go and should just stay on our track.”
Other aldermen weren’t ready to commit to a specific course of action but sounded cautious.
“It is not something I am going to ignore,” Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, said. “If it means waiting a little bit to see what happens, I’m not opposed.wholesale nfl jerseys from china
“Kehl’s agreement is non binding, so if we have another one, I’m not against a horse race,” he said.
Aldermen Barney Barnhill, 7th Ward, Jeff Justin, 6th Ward, Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, and Mike Matson, 8th Ward, said council briefings on Tuesday and council discussion at Wednesday’s meeting likely will determine if the agreement with Kehl is tabled.
“It is not exclusive, so we can move ahead on that and still have discussion with this other outfit,” Justin said. “We need to discuss that as a group, I would think.”
Alderwoman Sheilia Burrage didn’t think Blackwell went away but was regrouping. Like the rest of the council, the proposal caught her off guard so she doesn’t what will happen Wednesday.
“We’ll see what the consensus is, she said. “Right now, everyone is shocked.”
Also, the RDA must be considered in this, said Alderman Nathan Brown, 1st Ward. He, too, is intrigued by the proposal.
“Moving forward, I think the ball is really in the RDA’s hands,” Brown said. “I am not sure how open minded they will be to a $200 million investment. I am sure they will continue to have the interests of the Davenport residents in mind in maximizing the gaming license.
“Personally, I am cautiously optimistic and a project of this magnitude will need to be looked at carefully,” he said. “I would hate for this project to be added to the pile of unrealized possibilities that has come to the city’s doorstep.”
RDA Chairman Gary Mohr said Sunday he spoke with Blackwell on Friday and told him nothing could be done until Oct. 15, the sale deadline. He said he knows nothing of the company Blackwell is working with. RDA president Mary Ellen Chamberlin said she hasn’t had any contact with Blackwell or Clairvest.
Of the aldermen, only Meeker said he “had an inkling” that Blackwell was continuing to put together a casino proposal and that was because he spoke to the developer about other projects. He wasn’t aware of its scope.
Other aldermen said they were caught by surprise by what one called “an 11th hour” proposal.
“I’m curious as to where this came from,” Matson said. “I guess our Tuesday meetings will be very interesting. If this was known, I’d like to know who knew about this.”
Look at the history folks. Blackwell and Gluba were all buddy buddy when Blackwell’s original proposal was on the table. When it was passed over, Gluba was obviously shaken. To make matters worse for the Gluba Malin plan to spend as much money as possible in the downtown (could it be the political and financial influence of the downtown development group?) the Kehl plan took the casino away from downtown. Now there is even talk of moving the casino further west of Brady St on I 80 and maybe even outside of the Davenport City limits therefore not paying Davenport property taxes. It did ask for the city to put in infrastructure such as water and sewer lines, etc. Kehl didn’t ask for it cause he wanted to move the Casino to an area where that would not be an issue. Both men are taking a large risk put millions of dollars in the Davenport are and all people can do is complain. How would you like to start a business and knowing a percentage of your profit gets to go to the community. Lets open another Wal Mart so we can GIVE them incentives just to be here!.