Monday, September 27, 2010

Fioretti a Proponent of a Downtown Casino?

Casino conversations seem to always be a hot topic among Chicago politicians and citizens. However, we've never heard or read anything about our Alderman, Bob Fioretti, talking negatively or favorably about casinos. That's why we were surprised when a reader sent us this article about Fioretti talking about Casinos close to the Sloop:

A Chicago alderman who's mulling a race for mayor proposed Tuesday that McCormick Place East be converted into a giant, but temporary, casino and that Chicago begin the search for a permanent gambling site.

Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) mentioned as possible sites for a permanent casino the 37-acre former site of Michael Reese Hospital, the old Chicago post office and 67 vacant acres at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street once owned by convicted businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a friend and major fundraiser for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Generally speaking, this isn't a good thing for the neighborhood. Yes, it would bring another "destination" to the neighborhood, which would probably bring additional people, businesses and restaurants, but a Casino crowd isn't what most people in the Sloop want. Right now, the South Loop is relatively quiet and it seems like a lot of people raise families in the area. Casino's and families just don't mix well in our opinion.

Anyway, this tends to be a controversial subject, so let loose and let us know what you think. Good? Bad? Indifferent?

(Hat tip: SoloMotorRow!)


Anonymous said...

There is no reason why casinos should be forbidden anywhere.

They have a corrupting influence on government if government is allowed to regulate them. Casino owners and government officials will work together to monopolize the market. Instead, casinos should be allowed everywhere and anywhere free from government coercion.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any supporting facts, but in my experience in visiting cities with casinos (not talking about Vegas here, but cities like New Orleans), casinos don't bring in a bad crowd. I think any of the locations are far enough away from "family" type areas of South Loop that I think on first thought, I would support it.

Tom said...

I think casinos have a right to be there I just think that it draws the wrong type of crowd for an area like the South Loop. The Alderman should pay more attention to things in his district like the roads, parks, and developers that build bad buildings before he starts with casino talks.

Anonymous said...

"Far enough from family areas"?? The area north of McCormick has a pretty large family type foot-print all the way through Central Station. Always an easy decision for people who make these decisions or make the money from them, but never have to live with or near them. You would basically have to rethink through-fare plans north of Cermak.

I think most would have issue with large, loud casino's on Chicago's image in the big picture. Not a succesful solution if all you attract is local delinquents and 'Link card' users, who society then has to spend the Casino revenue on later because they gambled it away. If it is such a great idea, put it at Navy Pier, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, and see how people react.

There are some cities that can make it work by limiting casino size, creating more integrated botique style facilities that are not so in your face, yet upscale. These typically take up a few floors of a hotel space. A nice mix might be the right touch to spur the next phase of development for the area west of McCormick Place.

Agree with Tom though.

Kevin M said...

with a casino brings tourists/conventioneers. with tourists/conventioneers brings small business interest. small business interest brings more local businesses/less vacant commercial space. local businesses brings jobs. with jobs brings tax base. with tax base brings better roads, schools, police force, etc.

what seems to be the problem with a casino?

Anonymous said...

You have this fantastic swatch of land at Roosevelt/Clark; a casino is not the most awesomest use of that property.

If there was a school center or other city lifestyle enhancement, that would make more sense.

Holly said...

A casino? How some additional retail? How about some independent coffee shops where you can hang out with your laptop? Seems like there are plenty of local businesses that we could use in the South Loop before we need a destination entertainment venture such as a casino.

Anonymous said...

None of these areas are exactly the heart of the neighborhood, so I say why not? Similarly, I don't imagine I'd mind one on Goose Island if I lived in Lincoln Park.

Andy said...

I'm not an expert on the Michael Reese land, but this seems like an interesting idea. It could bring in the money to completely redevelop that area and bring in other retail or attractions. I'd love to see a beautiful waterfront boardwalk there, and this could be the fastest way to bring it (although maybe not the most ideal).

I think Clark/Roosevelt is too residential for a Casino. I really can't wait to see what happens to this space - once Roosevelt Collection fills in, it's prime for something similar.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan at all of a casino. It's a naive, short-sided idea. There is plenty of substantive, peer reviewed research out there on the social costs of casinos in communities. Our community cannot afford this type of diversion. The Alderman is just thinking dollar signs with this idea. He certainly isn't thinking of the safety and security of the people who live here.

Check this white paper out.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Not a succesful solution if all you attract is local delinquents and 'Link card' users, who society then has to spend the Casino revenue on later because they gambled it away." -Anonymous September 27, 2010 10:35 AM

We already see bunch of these types being taken advantage of by the free shuttles from the Chinatown Red Line stop to casinos in IN. Society is already supporting them.

I think we should address the issue of having shuttle buses taking up lanes (incl. a bike lane) by picking up passengers while no one makes any money (no meter money for the city, nothing). This is on the edge of our neighborhood and impacts those of us to go to the Chinatown stop to go places or walk down Archer to enjoy a nice dinner in Chinatown. This also takes advantage of our poorer neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Typo (from anonymous) I meant short-sighted.

Anonymous said...

Putting a casino in the Old Post Office makes a lot of sense to me . . . it's an albatross of a building that is just sitting vacant. It's close to the Metra and bus stations (and interstate) and is plenty big enough to house gaming, a hotel and scads of retail and dining.