Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett said this week that the proposed Linn County casino would not come with its own hotel or arena, and as a result, the casino investors will depend on the city’s existing facilities to provide that support for the casino.
“Using these existing city-owned assets versus building or duplicating them is a benefit to the taxpayers,” Corbett said.
The city and the casino group, the mayor said, will immediately get to work on a development agreement — if voters approve casino gaming in Linn County on March 5 — because much of the land on which a casino is proposed to go is now owned by the city, which obtained it in the city’s federally funded, flood-recovery buyout program. Corbett said he envisioned the development agreement to require the casino to commit to keeping a certain number of the rooms in the 270-bed DoubleTree filled.
“And actually, I can see a scenario where the casino group purchases the hotel five years from now,” he said.
The mayor said, too, that a city-casino agreement likely would ask the casino to underwrite a certain number of concerts a year at the U.S. Cellular Center arena or the city’s new riverfront amphitheater. With the casino’s financial support, the city then could attract bigger acts to its entertainment venues and still be able to offer reasonably priced tickets, the mayor said.
Is it appropriate for Cedar Rapids city officials to propose agreements with casino owners regarding the city’s new hotel venture or other city-owned facilities?