They own casinos in Jefferson, Emmetsburg, and Clinton, and now Wild Rose Casino says they'd like to build one in Cedar Rapids.

The surprise announcement came Thursday as Wild Rose President, Tom Timmons, visited Cedar Rapids. He told TV9, "We have a plan. Does the plan make sense? Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in Iowa. I think someday Cedar Rapids will have a casino."

All the previous talk of a Cedar Rapids casino had focused on a massive $164 million project on the west side of the river at the corner of 1st Street and 1st Avenue. The casino plan for that location was voted down by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

This time around, the idea is a much smaller one and would also be five blocks east on 1st Avenue. It would be located in the 400 block of 1st Avenue southeast and built in the parking lot next to the Skogman Realty building. The building is in the center of the photo below, with the parking lot to the right. To me, that parking lot seems too small for a significant development. Timmons does say that other buildings could end up being involved.

Proposed Cedar Rapids Casino Site
via Google Maps

Wild Rose Casino pictures a $40 million dollar boutique casino for Cedar Rapids. Yes, more than 75 percent less cost than the initial plan. That's by design as it's possible a smaller casino, proposed by a company that already owns casinos in Iowa, could be looked at more favorably.

The proposed casino building would be a four-story with the first floor used for parking. The second floor would actually be the casino and the top two floors would have office space. There would be no hotel and no restaurants in the casino. All of that is nearby and another hotel could still be part of a proposed building at the corner of 1st Street and 3rd Avenue southeast.

The current moratorium on Iowa casino applications will expire next year and it could be that Cedar Rapids will have another proposal for the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to consider.

What do you think of this new possibility? Do you believe it could be approved? We'll have a long wait to find out. First, it has plenty of hurdles to cross including the fact that Cedar Rapids' original casino investors still have a deal with the city. If the interest is there, Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett believes something could be worked out with the original investors and the new group.

[via TV9]