By Thomas R. Leidigh
Raising fear, doubt and uncertainty is a tested political strategy. Now it is being used by Just Say No opposition to the March 5 casino gambling referendum in Linn County. I hope the voters see what is really happening.
We have outside casinos aggressively trying to discredit a positive investment in Linn County. I don’t appreciate having the hard work and financial commitment from so many be torn apart by outsiders trying to stir up that fear and doubt.
Here is some background on the local investors behind this casino project. There are nearly 60 of us from Linn County who have stepped up during the initial fundraising to say we support a casino and entertainment venue, and we are making a big statement of that support with our checkbooks.
Our investor group consists of primarily self-made, successful business people and entrepreneurs who have been making a difference in our communities for years. We have all chosen to call this our home, to build our businesses and raise our families in a wonderful area. Local charities thrive on our support, and we take great pride in our ability to contribute.
There are many ways and options to invest money with a better and more immediate rate of return. People should understand that investing in this casino initiative is not a get-rich-quick scheme. There is tremendous risk. Plus, any return may not be realized for years. Obtaining a casino license is a lengthy process. Then the land is formally acquired, construction begins and before you know it, several years have passed since we signed on as investors. The investor’s motive is leadership and community first, not return on investment!
After the flood, many local leaders feared investment in downtown Cedar Rapids might be difficult to find. Our investors have provided leadership and have taken on a big financial risk so that our community can be a better area, so that we can have more entertainment venues and invest in something that will create more jobs. This group is special — we are all committed to Cedar Rapids and the surrounding communities; to the people we employ and to the businesses we are staying here to grow.
A casino is just another great piece to this regeneration of our community. We local investors stand behind the Cedar Rapids Development Group, thank them for their vision and encourage voters in Linn County to vote “yes.”
Thomas R. Leidigh, lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids, is founder, CEO and owner of Infinity Contact Inc. Comments: www.infinitycontact.com