City Council Committee Vote on Bally's Casino Proposal Delayed Until Next Week

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Members of a Chicago city council committee initially planned to vote on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's proposal to construct a Bally's casino in the River West neighborhood Friday, but ended up delaying the vote, saying more time is needed to sort through the details.

Those who sit on the council's Committee on Landmarks said Friday they received the first draft on the casino contract 48 hours earlier, and even more changes were made overnight, after it was sent. As a result, they pushed the vote back to next week.

The $1.74 billion casino and hotel will be permanently located on a portion of the of the current industrial Tribune Publishing Center in the River West neighborhood, but the land has to be developed first. A temporary location for the casino is first planned for Medinah Temple, at 600 N Wabash Ave.

A concert venue, 3,000-seat theater, fitness center, an outdoor park and music venue are among the many amenities planned for the location, which sits in the city's 27th Ward.

"I still think it is a great project and will help us with our budget crisis, so I support it 100%," said Ald. Walter Burnett, the ward's alderman.

But not everyone is on board, including Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward includes the Medinah Temple, the proposed site of the temporary casino that could be up and running by next year.

"Now we will have a beacon in River North for all the criminals to know... People with money in their pockets are going to be coming to this block," he stated. "Good luck."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says since the city's budget as well as police and fire pension funding plans are built around the casino, she can be patient about the delayed approval process.

"We have to make sure they are comfortable, that they have got all the information they need," she said. "This is a very big decision that the city council, all 50 of them, have to make."

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