Rockford aldermen weigh in on Mayor’s Hard Rock casino recommendation

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Rockford aldermen hear from city staff and consultants about the committee’s pick for a casino in the Forest City.

Mayor Tom McNamara recommended that the City Council submit Hard Rock International’s proposal to the Illinois Gaming Board.

A lot of information was presented to those in attendance at Rockford City Hall Monday night. To digest, a vote on the casino proposal was laid over until next week.

All three casino groups were on hand to hear the discussion as the gaming consultants made their case for selecting Hard Rock.

They believed the other two proposals lacked a financial commitment, among other concerns.

Aldermen asked questions for over an hour. Some said they trust the expertise of the consultants, while others weren’t so convinced.

“Out of the three proposals, that we heard, the two we haven’t heard positive things from them,” said Seventh Ward Alderman Ann Thompson-Kelly (D). “We only heard the negative. We heard the positive from Hard Rock but we didn’t hear the positive from the other two.”

“We have deadlines from the state,” said 9th Ward Alderman Bill Rose (D). “Our consultants basically told us ‘Hey, we’re confident in the Hard Rock, we’re confident in their brand, we’re confident in their financing.’ Why wouldn’t we send something that we’re confident in down to the state?”

“I think the committee and the consultants allowed every chance and opportunity,” said 3rd Ward Alderman Chad Tuneberg (R). “Even as far as allowing these applicants to add things to the RFP (Request For Proposal) after the due date. That just shows the extent of how far we went to try to get the best of the best from everyone of these applicants.”

Rockford aldermen will again consider the casino proposals and give their final vote at next Monday’s full council meeting.

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