A public hearing which took place on Monday night gathered hundreds of community members willing to hear the three Rockford casino applicants make their case.
At the meeting, representatives from the three casino groups made 45-minute presentations which were followed by a joint question-and-answer session, in which members of the public and representatives of the Hard Rockford International, Forest City and Rock River West Casino groups took part. According to reports, about 600 people attended last night’s public hearing but many of them left before they were given the opportunity to make comments and ask questions on the proposals.
The public hearing for the casino project was required under the provisions of the Illinois Gaming Act. At the meeting, Tom McNamara, the mayor of Rockford, has shared his hopes that the city council will vote on the certification of one of the three casino projects which were presented at the time. The city’s evaluation team is expected to make a recommendation to the city council on September 30th.
The members of the Rockford City Council would have to choose at least one proposal to send to the state’s gambling regulatory body, the Illinois Gaming Board, by October 25th. It is the Illinois gambling regulator that will have the final word on the casino license.
Forest City Casino, Hard Rock International and Rock River West Unveil Their Proposals
Forest City Casino was the first developer to make a presentation at the Monday night hearing. The project provided by the gambling company involves the development of a casino near Javon Bea Hospital and Physician Clinic and is also the largest one of the proposed projects, as it involves a casino situated at a 136-acre piece of land. Apart from a casino venue, the project also involves a 250-room Wyndham hotel, an outdoor waterpark situated on 10,000 square feet, an indoor waterpark situated on 40,000 square feet, and other entertainments, including a Luxe golf course. The casino resort project is set to employ nearly 2,000 workers and developers claim that it would also offer a great variety of other development opportunities for the local economy.
The second presentation was given by the representatives of the Hard Rock International, which is seeking to build a casino at the place where the Rockford Clock Tower Resort was once situated. The Giovanni’s Restaurant and Convention Center has been pointed as the proposed venue’s temporary location, where the Hard Rock brand would be able to start its new casino operation within 90 days in case they are granted an operating license. The company plans a 16,000-square-foot seating area and three dining areas to be hosted by its long-term location.
Rock River West was the only casino developer which made a proposal for a casino away from the east side of the city. Representatives of the developer’s team were unwilling to announce an operator that would run the casino but revealed that the project includes a 300-seat entertainment venue, an aquarium and 160-room embassy suites. The company explained it would make an investment in a downtown casino with 1,200 games at the time it starts operation. It backed its downtown casino project saying such a casino venue would be a great addition to the local economy and would have a positive impact on the community.