So I attended tonight's "Special City Council Meeting" and stuck around for the regular city council meeting scheduled immediately after.
First of all, while the special meeting was indeed related to the potential Rhythm City Casino relocation, it wasn't a meeting to vote to allow them to move. The actual vote was simply to direct staff to study the areas that should be zoned for casinos. The way it is explained now, there is currently no special zoning required for casinos, so IOC can basically locate a new casino/hotel complex wherever they wish. What the action taken by the council tonight does, is start the process for creating a special zoning type for casinos. This would allow the city to have a lot more leverage in choosing where IOC could build. Alderman Meyer questioned the entire process, why it was being done, whether the city administration is trying to force IOC to stay downtown, why a "special meeting" was needed, etc. Staff attempted to assure him that they would study all options, and not just downtown, but he added an amendment which would insist that they not rule out sites outside of downtown. This was passed by the council, I believe unanimously. Then the council passed the motion.
Here is the official text from the agenda of the pre-amendment motion:"Motion directing staff to review the zoning ordinances so that the placement of casinos or gaming operations is addressed in specific zoning district(s)."
I am unsure, but it seemed like Alderman Meyer hopes the casino does leave downtown. As a third ward resident, I disagree with this, and any efforts to move (relatively) upstanding businesses out of my ward.
Alderman Ambrose was clearly supportive of the casino moving out by the interstate. Both Alderman Brooke and Howard seemed to at least "hope" that the casino would be able to stay downtown. Alderman Hamerlinck and Lynn pointed out that any new agreement with the Isle will need to honor their existing responsibilities to the parking garage, skybridge, and Blackhawk Hotel. Alderman Dumas, as usual, said nothing.
All of the Council seemed to feel that the Isle is keeping them out of the process, and I spoke to "Tory B" of the QCTimes who also felt like they were being very closemouthed about their intentions.
The rest of the meeting mainly involved a 40+ minute discussion of Fejervary Zoo, and the council logically voting to refinance some bonds at a cheaper rate. The rezoning of the Mound/Locust apartment project that I've heard very little about was deleted from the agenda. Also, the guys were back with their request for a memorial in Lindsay Park to the Dakota tribe human remains that are, according to them, scattered around the McClellan and Lindsay Park area. There's always something to see at a Davenport City Council meeting.