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Final Preps for Commission Visit

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - (CBS2/FOX28)  Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday night at Dublin City Pub for a pep rally to fire up for the biggest game they may ever play.  Supporters are getting ready for a Thursday morning visit from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.  Members will tour Cedar Rapids and the proposed site for the $150 Million Cedar Crossing Casino to help them decide whether to grant a gambling license. Developer Steve Gray says the rally is good practice for Thursday and hopefully indicates an impressive turnout, I think weve doing a pretty good job of showing why the community needs this, now to see this and the desire of this community to support this project is very encouraging.

Along with the presentations to commissioners, members will also see a huge sign hanging near the casino site on First Avenue and 1st Street, stretched between two small cranes. Building Trades Council President Raymond Dochterman says its a plea to the gaming commission to green-light the project for three main reasons, It means great jobs for construction workers, a lot of good full-time jobs for employees of the casino itself and a reminder that were not yet finished with protection from flooding.

Many downtown businesses echo the hope for a gambling license because of what could happen after construction.  Dublin City Pub Manager Connie Mochal says being just a few blocks away from Cedar Crossing could be incredible for business, A lot of people who dont live in Cedar Rapids dont know what happened with the flood and dont know that the downtown is back and booming and I think having it in this area would be amazing.  

While the city wants to show its made good progress since the devastating flood of 2008, it also wants the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to see neighborhoods still in recovery.  Linda Seger watched her neighbors struggle on the west side of town, as she spent months rebuilding her own home not far from the river.  She is now a member of the Linn County Gambling Commission that would hold the gambling license and disperse its share of non-profit monies to charities and groups in need.  She says the casino offers the opportunity for positive change, Im just so encouraged that I think now on this side of the river well see lights and activity and energy and that can only benefit a lot of businesses as it goes forward.

Casino developers say community support is one of the most critical criteria the commission will consider before it votes on a gambling license April 17th at its regular meeting in Council Bluffs.  Theyre asking people to dress in white shirts as a sign of unity and gather at the Double Tree at 9:00 AM Thursday morning to greet commissioners and show how many people back the casino project.
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