A ground breaking was held this morning in Clinton for the first state-licensed, land-based casino in Iowa.
The "Wild Rose Casino and Resort" will take up 29 acres. It will include a hotel with an events center and a restaurant as well as the 28,000-square-foot casino.
The "Wild Rose Casino" corporation purchased the "Mississippi Belle II" gambling boat in Clinton and has spent the past couple of years drawing up designs for the new facility.
Gary Kirke, a businessman from Des Moines, is one of the founders of the Wild Rose Casino firm. "As you can (see), this project is involved and we’re pleased to be here to make it happen for Clinton," Kirke told the crowd at the groundbreaking. "It’s going to be a tremendous to your economic community here."
Kirke said it had been a "smooth and easy project" because of the cooperation of Clinton’s city leaders and business community. Kirke also praised the employees of the current Clinton casino. "The employees at the boat, when we first met them, (were) tremendous," Kirke said. "…Their morale seems to be high right now…and that was a tremendous reflection, really, on your community."
The Mississippi Belle II was the last of the state’s cruising riverboats. Governor Culver just signed a bill into law that removes the requirement that state-licensed casinos float on water.
Wild Rose executives say it will take about a year to build the new facility in Clinton. The Mississippi Belle II gambling boat will remain in operation until the next Clinton casino opens.
The Wild Rose Casino firm owns and operates the gambling facility in Emmetsburg.
The site for the company’s new land-based casino in Clinton is in the flood plain and over one million cubic yards of dirt will be hauled in to raise the level of the site.