DANVILLE – Recommendation of a casino operator has been pushed back a couple weeks as negotiations on community benefits continue between the city and an operator.
Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. gave an update on the process at Tuesday night’s Danville City Council meeting.
Face-to-face interviews occurred with two of the potential casino operator groups. One group, the Craig and Kim Campbell group which proposes a downtown casino, was not available to meet with the steering committee.
“We have two very strong proposals …,” Williams said about both proposing casinos on Lynch Road near Interstate 74. “Both are strong, but in different ways.”
Williams said they are doing their due diligence on all the financials and regulations, background checks and other details, and he expects a final recommendation to the Danville City Council on a casino operator at the Sept. 17 city council meeting.
Casino zoning and other processes also are proceeding with the Lynch Road site, he said, adding that the site will go before the zoning commission on Thursday as an item of information and be up for action next month.
In audience comments, Craig Campbell said his group still is preparing materials for a casino application to the state gaming board. He said they were not able to make the steering committee’s interview schedule, and they are still out there talking to people.
Williams asked Campbell how many “deliverables” his group was able to answer for the steering committee in its casino proposal, including financials. Campbell said they were not prepared to give all that information.
In other business, there was a public hearing on potential marijuana licensing in the city. Under state law that goes into effect Jan. 1, the city is eligible for a license for a marijuana dispensary and a craft grower. City officials wanted to hear the public’s views.
Of the 10 public comments, eight people were for licensing in the city and two were against it.
Several people, including Cindy Parr-Barrett, said cannabis is already here and the city should take advantage of the revenue.
“Our location is perfect,” she said.
Others cited the bad effects of recreational cannabis such as affecting motor skills and it being highly addictive.
Ward 2 Alderman Rick Strebing said the city might as well license a place and get the revenue from it.
Ward 3 Alderman R.J. Davis said he has a problem with recreational marijuana, but is O.K. with medicinal uses of it.
The committee Tuesday night also discussed a possible video gaming ordinance change, with Ward 4 Alderman Mike O’Kane suggesting possibly square footage or seating requirements to prevent video gaming cafes and not hurt existing businesses.
Also discussed was a possible moratorium on liquor licenses or leaving the ordinance alone for now and seeing how the casino affects businesses.
Aldermen wanted more time to understand the issue and receive updated bar/business and state numbers.