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Cedar Rapids Meets the Cedar Crossing Casino

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Cedar Rapids residents now know the name and the price tag for its new proposed casino: $165 million. They also got their first look at what the finished product might look like.

"I think it looks awesome," said Kirk Schmidt.

"Well the pictures are nice," countered Rich Struve, who opposes the casino. "I just don't see it being a big draw."

 Developers say the plan, if approved, would give this overgrown grass lot a big city feel.

The design boasts 840 slot machines, 25 table games and five poker tables. Three restaurants are named for parts of Cedar Rapids' history, like the Sinclair Steakhouse for the old Sinclair meat plant.

"We want it to be big and eye-catching and enticing people to come in and enjoy all aspects of it from gaming to dining to entertainment," said the President and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Marilee Fowler.

"If you're passing through, it might draw some people in to stay for a while and put some money into the economy here in Cedar Rapids," said Schmidt.

"This is going to be something people look at and hopefully go, 'wow," said the lead investor in the Cedar Rapids Development Group Steve Gray.

 They will see lots of lights, which backers say will turn the casino into a beacon for an area of the city that they'll now call "Kingston Village."

It's clever marketing that not everyone buys into.

"And I think that would be a mark against it then. We have a very historic Veterans Memorial Building right on second avenue and I think that'll probably detract from that," said Struve.

Gray says it won't and that venues like a 400 seat events center will just add to the casino's allure.

"This is another very important entertainment destination that will add to the attractiveness of all the other great things," said Gray.

Of the $165 million, $139 million is just for the casino building itself. Its the second time the price has jumped since the project was first public ally discussed earlier this year.
 
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