Cedar Rapids casino supporters react to IRGC decision - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids casino supporters react to IRGC decision

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The proposed Cedar Crossing Casino The proposed Cedar Crossing Casino
COUNCIL BLUFFS (KWWL) - They worked for more than a year and a half, raised and spent more than $7 million from investors, convinced voters and put together plans for an elaborate casino that would showcase a part of Cedar Rapids previously lost to floodwaters and forgotten.

Their dream was taken away quickly on Thursday morning.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to reject a gaming license for a casino in Cedar Rapids during the board's meeting Thursday in Council Bluffs.

Those who had worked hard for the project expressed disappointment at the decision.

"While this is incredibly disappointing, we are proud of our members and community for displaying such unity around this project," Dee Baird, president and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, said in a statement Thursday. "We want to compliment the Cedar Crossing Casino management team for an excellent project and effort.

"Our community has made significant progress since the 2008 flood and, while today's decision is unfortunate, the Economic Alliance will continue our work to serve as a catalyst for economic diversity, growth and prosperity for our region," Baird continued.

No one may have been more disappointed in the decision than the man who started the idea in 2012 -- Steve Gray, chairman of the Cedar Rapids Development Group, which was going to build the Cedar Crossing Casino.

"Even though we are disappointed with today’s decision, we are so proud of the strong community support that has continued to build over the last 18 months," Gray said in a statement Thursday. "The citizens of Cedar Rapids and Linn County along with Mayor Corbett, Jeff Pomeranz, the City Council, Linn County Board of Supervisors, labor leaders, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, MEDCO, HEDCO, many community leaders and the members of the Linn County Gaming Association came together to push for something that could be so meaningful for our local economy.

"We truly appreciate and are thankful for your support throughout this entire process," he continued. "There are a lot of great things going on in Cedar Rapids and Linn County. Let’s keep the positive momentum and continue to move forward."

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