Rockford hearing set for casino

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ROCKFORD - The City of Rockford will host a state-mandated public hearing on Sept. 23 ahead of any construction on a casino in the city.

The Illinois Gaming Act requires the city to conduct a public hearing that will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N Main St, Rockford, regarding the proposed casino.

Currently there are three proposals to be considered.

• Hard Rock International: The group wants to build a hotel and casino off of Interstate 39/90 at the site of the former Clock Tower Resort at 7801 E. State St.

• Downtown: Gorman and Company wants to build a casino near the soon-to-open Embassy Suites Hotel near Davis Park along Route 2 (South Main Street) and includes plans for an aquarium. The development would be located at 650 Race St.

• Luna Entertainment: The company wants to build a casino near the Javon Bea Hospital along the interstate on a plot of 135 acres of land near 8055 Springbrook Road.

All proposals will be reviewed by the city's casino development review team before submitting questions ahead of the public hearing.

The city must consider a range of factors before approving a development, including job potential, economic impact and vendor use before making a proposal recommendation to the Rockford City Council.

The Winnebago County Board recently voted in favor of approving a resolution that puts support behind hosting the future casino along the interstate corridor.

The hearing will be open to the public with doors opening at 5 p.m.

Each applicant will have 45 minutes to make a formal presentation of its casino proposal. After the presentations, audience members can ask questions of the applicants, the city and its consultants.

Written comments can be submitted at any time before or at the public hearing to Nicholas Meyer, Legal Director, at City Hall or Nicholas.meyer@rockfordil.gov.

Meanwhile in Beloit, officials with Ho-Chunk Nation and the City of Beloit say they have yet to hear any word regarding a decision from the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the proposed resort-casino development that saw major steps taken since 2018 in coming together. The project, set for a site near I-39/90 and the state line, hasn't seen any movement since May.

A recording of the Rockford session will be posted to the city's webpage at rockfordil.gov/casino.

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