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With no casino being built, 'What's Next?' is a hard question to answer

For the second time in three years, Cedar Rapids is figuring out what's next after its casino proposals were rejected by the Iowa racing and gaming commission.

For the second time in three years, Cedar Rapids is figuring out what's next after its casino proposals were rejected by the Iowa racing and gaming commission.

City officials and casino developers said Thursday's rejection wasn't a huge shock, since its the same commission that rejected them in 2014.

But, if you're writing off a third casino attempt...not so fast.

With no casino plans breaking ground near the DoubleTree, or on the west side of the river, outgoing Major Ron Corbett says it'll be one of the first things the newly elected city leaders will handle.

"The new Council and Mayor will probably look at that property and want to redevelop it now as opposed to hold on to it forever for a potential casino," said Corbett.

Nobody told the Cedar Rapids Development Group.

They're responsible for the Cedar Crossing on the River and smaller Cedar Crossing Central proposals and have been trying to build a Cedar Rapids casino for about five years.

"Last time around we got one vote, this time we got two votes, next time we need three votes," said Cedar Rapids Development Group's Jonathan Swain.

A "next time" will take some work.

There's new plans to make, and studies to pay for, with no guarantee they won't go 0 for 3.

"Persistence is going to be the key to success and our persistence has never waivered," said Swain.

Most importantly, the referendum where Linn County voters said they wanted to pursue a casino license expires in 2020. Swain says the Cedar Rapids development group is gearing up to start another campaign to get approval again.

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