DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Failed attempts to bring a casino into Danville may be over. City council voted to rezone a property, giving the green light to a new proposal by Danville Development LLC.
The casino would be built on Eastgate Drive off of Lynch Road.
This is intended to be a temporary location. The city says Danville Development plans to build a more permanent casino later on to invest in the city long term.
Mayor Rickey Williams says the casino in Terre Haute has created a more urgent need for Danville to compete to bring in revenue, especially since the state of Indiana approved table gaming.
This proposal is the latest of several that have been considered by the city in the past year. Some have been turned down and other companies haven’t fully committed to their plans. After Haven Gaming backed out of its plan to build a casino in the city, Danville Development came in with a new plan the city hopes will follow through.
The casino would be build on 8.5 acres of land where a distribution storage warehouse currently stands. The property was zoned as an industry area, but on Tuesday night city council changed it to allow commercial development.
Mayor Rickey Williams says, “[Danville Development] has done several casino developments and been licensed in other states so they have the experience of offering a quality project and quality entertainment.” The company believes this is an ideal location because it’s near the northern hotel district and retail businesses.
Michael Mervis, co-owner of the company next to this land, disagrees. He says, “It seems a shame that 20 years of work would result in a casino sandwiched inside and industrial park where peoples’ first impression of Danville will be among semis, among cross docks, among truck depots and among our recycling facility.”
The Danville zoning commission turned down the proposal 5-1 earlier this month, saying the it wasn’t consistent with the goals and objectives of the city’s comprehensive plan and would not preserve the essential character of the neighborhood around it. But council overturned that.
Mayor Williams responded to this saying, “The truth is when folks are going to a casino they won’t be hanging out outside, they’ll be inside. So I feel as long as the inside is amazing, which it will be, and the outside is attractive to draw people in, we’ll be in great shape.” He estimates that Danville would make about $6.2 million in revenue per year from this.
Danville Development says construction of the casino will take about nine months from the close of financing. WCIA attempted to contact the company to get their response to the objections against the proposal, but has not heard back.
The next step is for the application to be submitted to the state gaming board for review and final approval.
Danville Development will do the majority of the work on the casino designing, constructing, and operating it.