In Illinois, the mayor for the small northern city of Waukegan has reportedly told state legislators that a plan to construct a casino on 32 acres of land his community purchased in 2003 is ‘shovel-ready.’
According to a Thursday report from the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Mayor, Sam Cunningham, made the claim while testifying in front of the Illinois House of Representatives as part of an effort to have his city selected as the home for one of several proposed new casinos.
The newspaper reported that the Illinois State Senate passed a measure last year that would have seen the Midwestern state expand its stable of ten casinos and authorize racetracks to offer video gambling. This legislation would have also allowed Chicago to feature a casino for the first time but ultimately fell short after failing to gain enough support in the Illinois House of Representatives.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the sponsor of this unsuccessful measure, Democratic legislator, Terry Link, subsequently responded to this disappointment by proposing a second such bill that would allow Illinois’ riverboat casinos to relocate onto dry land. This latest legislative endeavor was overwhelmingly passed by the Illinois State Senate last month and is now heading for a vote before the state’s House of Representatives.
To aid in its decision-making process, the House of Representatives reportedly invited several city and county officials to give evidence last week as to why they believe that their communities should be selected to receive one of the proposed new casinos. Cunningham told the assembled legislators that Waukegan ‘is ready to serve as the home to the long-discussed [and] much-deserved Lake County casino’ and already possesses a ‘shovel-ready’ site that is located near several major thoroughfares including as Interstate 94.
“The city of Waukegan is ready to transform with the addition of a casino for Lake County. Waukegan is ready to take its vibrant history shaped by the Lake Michigan lakefront, our rich arts and music community, our population of 100,000 and our location as the county seat of Lake County. It is ready to add a casino to that great history.”
Illinois state legislators moreover heard testimony from representatives for the communities of Rockford, Tinley Park and Danville while Cunningham declared that his city already has a bus service that transports players to Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel and Casino on a daily basis. He furthermore purportedly proclaimed that any new Lake County casino would benefit by being in close proximity to the area’s other tourist-friendly attractions such as the Six Flags Great America amusement park and the Gurnee Mills shopping center.