Don’t let outside casinos decide

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: February 16 2013 | 12:01 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 11:32 am in

By Brad Canfield

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As one of the supporters for a casino in Linn County and a “local investor” in the Cedar Rapids Development Group LLC, I wanted to review several items that have been covered in the media or advertised by the Vote No group.

First, the Vote No group is trying to demonize Steve Gray and the investors as being untrustworthy and not forthright in our process. They demand a list of the “private investors” and where the casino will be located. As for the list of investors, the initial round of investment was just completed at the end of January and was released to the public Feb. 4. This list includes many well-respected, lifelong residents and business leaders from Linn County.

With regard to the location of the casino, this is not a secret. The group is looking into a variety of locations and weighing the benefits, cost and impact to each potential location.

Second is the financial support piece that the casino will offer to Linn County and the local area. The job creation, non-profit support and tax revenue all are major wins for the local economy. The proposed hundreds of jobs to build, staff and run the casino will have a huge positive impact.

The recent concern over the 3 percent amount that will be given to local non-profits as being too small is off base. This 3 percent could reach several million dollars per year for non-profits, and conversely, 3 percent of zero is zero.

Third, the truth and driving force behind the Vote No group: This group has demanded that the investor list be made public, yet the group will not submit who is behind its well-organized campaign. The Vote No group’s TV and Internet ads along with the continued daily letters to the editor are being very well funded by someone. Make no mistake, the majority of the Vote No initiative funding is coming from the surrounding casinos (Editor’s note: Tuesday, Just Say No Casino spokesman stated during a forum that existing casinos are providing funding to the group). These casinos do not want competition and could not care less about the growth and development of Linn County. They will do and say anything to make the March 5 vote fail, yet they will not step forward and admit they are behind this.

I have deep appreciation for Cedar Rapids and Linn County. Many generations of my family have lived and grown up here. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of raising my family here, being involved in the community and operating family businesses with my father and son in Linn County. I chose to be an investor in the Linn County casino because I am passionate about our community and want to see it grow.

Anyone who has been to Dubuque lately can see what a casino has done for its downtown riverfront area. A vote “yes” on March 5 will allow the next step in revitalizing Cedar Rapids and Linn County. Please do not allow well-funded outsiders from surrounding casinos to dictate our future.

Brad Canfield is president of CCB Packaging, Hiawatha. Comments: bradc@ccbpackaging.com

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