Wild Rose Entertainment LLC will press ahead with plans for a $150 million casino in Ankeny, but it has offered the city a chance to opt out of an agreement to help secure a gaming license for the facility.
The Ankeny City Council approved a memorandum of understanding on Oct. 29 in which it agreed to assist Wild Rose, which operates casinos in Clinton and Emmetsburg, in obtaining the license.
That vote led to the formation of a citizens group opposing the casino. In the wake of that opposition, two council members indicated they would change their votes.
“We reached out to the city with this offer in order to alleviate the public controversy and media misconceptions surrounding the (agreement)," Wild Rose Chairman Gary Kirke said in a news release. “We continue to believe in this project and the many advantages and assets it can generate for the community. We are proceeding with our due diligence and continuing to work through the appropriate city channels and procedures, all of which are public and transparent.”
The Ankeny City Council plans to take up the measure on Monday.
Here is the remainder of the news release:
Wild Rose initiated the process to discontinue the MOU this week and provided the necessary legal documentation earlier today to Jim Spradling, Ankeny’s city manager.
“We thank the city of Ankeny and the many residents who have expressed support for the project,” Kirke added. “We look forward to continuing this process.”
The proposed casino and entertainment complex would generate nearly $8 million annually in new property tax revenues, increased hotel-motel receipts and funding for charitable, civic and ministerial organizations and projects for the community. The complex, expected to draw 2.5 million visitors each year, features a sleek and appealing design with a hotel, convention center, bowling center, cinema and other amenities. The facility would be designed to host a multitude of community activities including social functions, concerts, conferences and conventions.
The gaming complex will generate 600 new jobs with an annual payroll and benefits of approximately $22 million. Wild Rose is not asking for public financing or tax abatement from the community, the county or the State of Iowa.
Ankeny citizens through the formation of a nonprofit license holder will have complete discretion over the distribution of at least $3.6 million annually in funding for charities, nonprofits and civic projects.