Linn County casino vote could come as soon as March - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Linn County casino vote could come as soon as March

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

The investment group pushing a Linn County gaming and entertainment venue says it has obtained enough signatures to bring the issue to vote sooner than expected.

The Cedar Rapids Development Group, led by investor Steve Gray, turned in more than 16 thousand signatures Tuesday morning to the Linn County Board of Supervisors- just short of 12 thousand signatures needed in Linn County to bring about a special election.

Gray says volunteers were able to collect the signatures in less than two months.  The investment group is now pushing for a March 5 special election. 

"Really it's an endorsement of what this venue is all about, the economic activity and the creation of jobs, and something that could be a meaningful part of Linn County," Gray said.

The signatures still need to be verified by the Board of Supervisors, which will then set a date for a vote.

The investment group is pushing a new $80-$100 million privately-funded facility in Linn County.

"The Vote Yes Linn County" campaign will now shift into campaign mode ahead of a potential March 5 election.

The group says now that the petition drive is over, it can focus on educating voters about the scope of the project.

"Now we realize that we have a campaign to run, and we're going to be talking a lot more about our entertainment venue over the next seven to eight weeks," Gray said.

An organized opposition to the entertainment venue is already pushing back.

"There's only so much disposable income in a community," said Frank King, chair of the "Just Say No Casino" campaign.

The coalition against a casino is asking for better transparency about the project.

Members oppose a casino in Linn County for different reasons ranging all the way from moralities of gambling to the economic impact of such a project.

"Let's get it all on the table.  Let's tell who all the investors are.  Let's tell where they're going to put it.  Let's tell if the taxpayers are going to be asked to subsidize it, and then let's let the taxpayers and voters decide if they want it," King said. 

Rhetoric we haven't heard the last of as both sides build toward election day.

 

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