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New, Larger Proposed Casino Plan

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Expectations are high for the new Cedar Rapids casino.

"People are going to be talking about this town all over the country, you watch," council member Don Karr said.
 
With no opposition from the audience at city hall Tuesday, it would seem many in the community feel the same way.
 
"They will see an exciting full city, where the river will no longer divide us, as we've crossed over to the west side," said Linda Seger with Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association.
 
Along with those big expectations, comes a bigger price tag. Steve Gray a major local investor says the Casino plan is 20 percent larger and now cost 150 million to construct, up from the 110 million dollar estimate in July. Its also an increase from the initial estimate of 80-90 million dollars.

Gray says its for good reason.
 
"The increase is through the non-gaming amenities that we're adding to the facility, upper end restaurants, an event center on the third floor," Gray said.
 
He says those amenities, which include higher quality building materials for the casino, are an investment into the city's future.much like a planned 30 million dollar, 3 story parking garage. The city will cover the cost of the garage up front.
 
"The alternative would have been having 2 acres of flat parking lot, which takes property off the tax rolls," council member Kris Gulick said.
 
The city will borrow the 30 million, which the development group will then pay back through taxes and revenue. Eventually the garage will be owned by the city.
 
"[It] provides us flood protection, provides us parking for the public, provides us restrooms," Gulick said.
 
With the application due to the Iowa Racing and Gaming commission on September 3rd. Gray says there's still work to do, but they're right on track for the deadline, hoping that the high expectations match the final result.
 
"I hope so, otherwise we worked awfully hard for the last two years," Gray said.
 
Developers have a busy schedule over the next few months as the casino comes together. On September 16, the drawings for the casino will be submitted to the city. Starting this Fall they'll start doing preparation for the project.

In Spring of 2014 the gaming commission will approve or deny the license. If approved, then construction will begin. Developers say by the Summer of 2015 they hope to open the casino.
 
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