Cynde Bunch, the founder and chief executive officer of the proposed Walker’s Bluff casino is frustrated with Illinois Legislators who decided to take a fall break after the session was vetoed. Walker’s Bluff in Carterville is currently a restaurant and winery that is pushing for a casino license.
Bunch wants to turn the current facility into a proposed $178 million casino complex that would have two hotels, four new restaurants, a multi-purpose convention center, an indoor water park opened throughout the year, a casino and a spa. In a statement, Bunch said “Our state has just announced another unproductive veto session, canceled 10 working days and will resume holding vigil — waiting for a government failure large enough to make the other side give up. Nothing is new, but our astonishment and disappointment is certainly fresh each time”.
Bunch went on to say that the future of the Walker’s Bluff casino project is in the hands of the State Representative-elect Dave Severin, R-Benton; Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg; State Senator-elect Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg and State Representative Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro. Bunch called on these state representatives to continue to push for the casino to be approved and reminded them that the casino complex would provide Southern Illinois with a significant boost.
The proposed Walker’s Bluff casino is expected to create 1,200 part time constructions jobs and 800 full time jobs once the facility is opened to the public. The entire project is being private funded and has the support of the Southern Illinois Mayors’ Association. The multi-purpose convention center is also expected to play a big role in transforming Southern Illinois into a popular convention destination.
Proponents for the Walker’s Bluff casino organized a rally on November 15 and met with a number of legislators in Southern Illinois to remind them that they wanted the casino to be approved at the earliest. After the rally was completed, Bunch went on to have a meeting with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.
Emily Burke who serves as a project relations consultant for the proposed casino stated that the legislators are not likely to approve the casino license until they finalize the state budget. Burke went on to say that she found it frustrating that state legislators were taking so long to make a decision on the proposed casino especially when you consider the fact that legislators have made it a habit to call for entrepreneurs to start new businesses that would bring economic development to the state.
Burke stated that Bunch had returned to Southern Illinois and was willing to make the financial investment to establish a casino complex and develop the region but legislators did not come across as very interested in approving the project. However Bunch continues to be optimistic and hopes that the casino license will be approved by April 2017.