Rhythm City is rumored to be looking into moving their operation into one of the halves of the RiverCenter, and either renovating the Blackhawk or building a new hotel. This would keep them downtown and allow the project to be used as the local matching funds to get the CAT grant for redeveloping LeClaire Park.
As always, there are pros and cons to the idea.
- Gets the casino off of the riverfront and keeps it downtown
- Takes the money-losing RiverCenter off the city's hands
- Possibly renovates the Blackhawk back to former glory
- Instead of working to attract more conventions, we give up
- Smaller auto show, pool tournament, Festival of Trees, etc
- Can IOC preserve the Blackhawk as it should be?
At first I was completely against giving up any of the RiverCenter, because I believe its a fairly short-sighted thing to do. If Davenport starts growing more like some of us think its about to, my generation could end up building a new RiverCenter-type convention hall 10 or 20 years down the line, and wishing we hadn't turned half of our old one into a casino. Currently though, only a few events per year actually use both halves of the RiverCenter, so maybe losing half wouldn't be as big of a deal. Unfortunately, I believe that IOC has proven their complete inability to take care of the historic Blackhawk Hotel, and I really don't trust them to maintain its historic integrity. I'd still like to see a new hotel tower built, and the Blackhawk turned into a 100+ room convention hotel maintaining the Gold Room with apartments/condos on the top floors, just as the city was already planning to do. Or, I'd still be fine with my previously-suggested plan to build a hotel/waterpark/casino on the parking lot surrounding the Blackhawk.
What do you folks think? (And also, will what people think matter?)