Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has put together a new advisory council that will be tasked with gaining community feedback on the city’s plans for a new casino. The council was created ahead of Bally’s Corporation’s plans to build a temporary casino in River North, followed by a permanent one in River West.
The advisory council will be comprised of members of the community, residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and casino experts. The Chicago Department of Planning and Development will oversee the group, along with the Mayor's Office of Community Engagement, the Chicago Department of Transportation and Jennie Huang Bennett, Chicago’s Chief Financial Officer.
Members of the council will meet monthly to discuss community input.
Mayor Lightfoot said in a statement: "Since beginning the process to secure a Chicago casino, my administration has remained dedicated to ensuring our residents have every opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns about it.
"This community advisory council will create a tangible space for this important engagement and allow community stakeholders of all kinds to have a meaningful impact before, during, and after the casino's construction."
According to a WBEZ report, river advocates and ecological preservationists have expressed that plans to turn the former Tribune printing plant in River West into a casino “can be a meaningful next step in the ongoing makeover of the city’s riverfront – if done right.”
The temporary casino at the landmark Medinah Temple is scheduled to be completed in 2023. Bally’s target opening date for the new permanent facility is set for 2026. The new casino will feature 500-room hotel and 3,000-seat theater on 30 acres of land. Total estimated costs to date are close to $1.7bn.