Lawsuit filed against city over change in casino location

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA)– People are anxiously waiting on the construction of a casino. However, there have been some challenges. City Alderman Mike Puhr says he found out a lawsuit had been filed against the city by Mervis Industries, Inc. They own properties in the city, including a recycling business. “This only involves two of the sons who are principals in the Mervis Corporation that are filing this. It has nothing to do with Mrs. Mervis or any of the children,” said Mike Puhr, Alderman and Casino Steering Committee member.

The issue started about two years ago. The Casino Steering Committe that Puhr is a part of picked a spot for the casino on the south side of I-74. “We negotiated, had the land appraised, and once we were rolling, the land almost quadrupled in value,” said Puhr. The city decided to change the location of the casino to 204 Eastgate in Danville. “We had another site that was selected as a temporary location which would get us up and running in about 9 months, once all the zoning and everything was approved and the city approved a license,” said Puhr.

Then a lawsuit was filed. “We overturned a zoning committee on them saying it wasn’t a good place, so we overturned it as a city council. It’s our right as aldermen to overturn any zoning decision. We did overturn it. It was a two-thirds majority,” said Puhr.

However, the city says plans for the casino will move forward. That’s something the community is looking forward to happening. “I think it’s the perfect spot because of the economy, and the price is right,” said Vickie Smith. “We have a lot of naysayers that say this is never going to happen. I know in my heart being involved with this for almost two years that it’s going to happen,” said Puhr.

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