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Relieved in Riverside
RIVERSIDE, IA (CBS2/FOX28) While much of Cedar Rapids was hoping for a downtown casino, the nearby city of Riverside says it had a lot to lose if the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved the Cedar Crossing Casino. Riverside Mayor Bill Poch and local businesses say the casino helps out rural Washington County in a number of ways.
Phil Richman volunteers are the Voyage Home History Center, where most of the towns Star Trek memorabilia is kept. Besides being a must-see for Trekkies, its one of many organizations that directly benefit from the traffic that the casino brings in, but also the cash it gives out. The museum says its pulled in $20,000 over the past few years.
"When we first moved to this part of the building, which is a larger building than we had before, we were able to get a grant to get a bunch of new cases, in fact this here is actually one of the cases we got, said Richman.
Mayor Poch says Riverside gives out roughly three million dollars a year to non-profits, helping with everything from firehouses to baseball fields.
Just down the street from the museum is Mike Meinders A-Plus Graphics and More.
"The casino comes to me from time to time to produce t-shirts for them for their jackpot winners, said Meinders.
He says some months, hell bring in up to $4,000 just from casino orders.
"They try to do their part, shopping local here, said Meinders.
Just ten minutes away in Kalona, its the same story
The Kalona Historical Village says its received $400,000 over seven years, adding wings to buildings, renovating roofs and much more.
"We're grateful for what the Riverside Casino has done for us here, said Kalona Historical Village Managing Director Nancy Roth. I think that there's a lot of things that we wouldn't be able to do if it wasn't for them helping us here."
People in Riverside say the decision to deny Cedar Rapids a casino is a sign of relief, not something to be rubbed in.
Its unfortunate in this contest that there has to be a winner and there has to be a loser, but I certainly dont celebrate, in your face and shaking my finger, said Mayor Poch. Because for me, thats not the way it is.
Those businesses say theyre afraid that competition from a Cedar Rapids Casino would have hurt the work Riverside does in the community. People who work at the casino say they were pretty certain that if the Cedar Crossing Casino went through, some of their jobs would have been cut almost right away.