Isle of Capri developer answers questions

By Heartland News

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Downtown Cape Girardeau business owners learned more about how a proposed casino could affect them Monday morning.

"We want to be a good corporate neighbor," said Paul Keller, of Isle of Capri.

Last week the Cape Girardeau city council endorsed the developer's plans for an Isle of Capri casino in town.

An informational meeting was held for some downtown business and homeowners to ask questions about the possible development which would be at the old shoe factory location off North Main near the Red Star district.

"We are most concerned about the casino bringing in business, not taking it away from us," said Hunter Clark of Broussard's. "I think the city will get a lot of tax revenue."

About 16 business owners attended the meeting and had a lot of questions about how a downtown casino would affect their business.  The meeting was held at the River View room above Buckner Brewing Company.

"I think it's a win-win," said Charlie Bertrand, of Spanish Street Mercantile. "It's not about whether or not you endorse gambling. We want a better community and we need a tax base for that. It's about jobs, it's about the things that will bring a better things to Cape that include everything from walking trails to the water park.

Officials with the Isle of Capri told business owners they could expect to see an average of 25,000 more customers a week with a casino in town.

They also say they hope to meet a need in Cape.

"Everybody tells us we love Cape Girardeau Monday through Friday and then on the weekends we go to St. Louis or to the lake," said Paul Keller, Sr. Vice-President of Isle of Capri.  "So we think we could keep people here.  We think we can bring people here from six different states that don't come here now."

Keller says in the 15 communities where they have communities they rarely have negative feedback from business owners.

Applications have to be in to the gaming commission by September, 1st. The issue still goes before voters in November.

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.