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No Casino, What Now?

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA ( CBS2/FOX28 )  No casino, no problem.  Or at least thats how some in Cedar Rapids are trying to put a positive spin on devastating news for the city.

On Thursday the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission killed the $150 Million Cedar Crossing Casino plan for Cedar Rapids. The commission concluded the new casino would take too much of its profit from existing, nearby gambling operations.

That leaves a two block area full of weeds at the corner of First Avenue and 1st Street West and some people pondering the next move. A number of cities have made themselves destination locations without a casino, but it often requires something on a grand scale.

On a sunny afternoon in the Newbo Neighborhood several people suggested an indoor water park, or year-round farmers market and antique mall.  Others like Sue Anderson say its time to think about quality entertainment and maybe taking a lesson from Music City, I would like to see something like the Bluebird Caf in Nashville where young upstarts and artists come and have a place to play for groups.  Bluebird is always crowded down there.

Others say Cedar Rapids is already on the right track.  Erica Morris says maybe its just time to think a little bigger, I think what theyve done down here in Newbo and the event center and doing that and just kind of building up the arts area and getting people involved in that way .. bringing interest and investors in that way.

On our Facebook page many offered a long list of diverse ideas.  Tanya says I think A year-round farmers/crafters market would be great at Westdale Mall. 

Aaron writes, We need a one-of-a-kind project that will just blow outsiders out of their shoes. 

Matt posts, Relocate the Kernels stadium to the riverfront for a marquis place to see minor league baseball.

Regina suggests, A giant bio-dome with diverse plant and habitat and maybe butterflies.

Mary says, A river walk like San Antonio would be awesome.

And  Steve writes, a bit sarcastically, to be careful, We cant cannibalize Adventureland.   

Meantime back in Newbo, Brad Jenewein says he loves the water park idea or maybe a whitewater kayaking run as part of a larger venue, Something with arts and music, music brings a lot of people into the forum there, so something along those lines to combine the young and the old.  I think that would be one way to get some things started.

On our CBS2/FOX28 Facebook page there are more than 150 comments and ideas on how to recover from the loss of the proposed casino.  We invite you to offer your thoughts as well.  Youll find the Facebook icon at the bottom of this page.
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