Potential Casino Site

Danville officials selected this 40-acre cornfield on the south side of Interstate 74 near the Lynch Road exit as the preferred site for a casino because of its proximity to the highway and Indiana line and its ‘shovel ready’ status. Photo by Tracy Crane via The News-Gazette.

The two casino development proposals that Danville leaders consider the strongest have both built their plans on the 40-acre site near the Interstate 74 Lynch Drive exit.

“Both of them are strong, just in different ways,” Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said during September 3’s Danville City Council meeting, adding that the review committee is still working through its process that will end with a recommendation to aldermen.

The city received three proposals in all, but Williams said representatives of the third did not follow through with face-to-face interviews, a required part of the developer selection process.

Since the two others have focused on the Lynch site, Williams said, the city is moving forward with the zoning process and other approvals for that property, which is privately owned.

Later in the Tuesday meeting, former Danville banker Craig Campbell said during the public-comment period that he and his associates are still working to put together their downtown casino proposal.

The city’s deadline for proposals was Aug. 21.

Campbell said that his group, which submitted the third proposal, could not make the face-to-face interview schedule.

Williams asked Campbell to state publicly how many of the 20 pieces of information required by the city his group submitted as part of its casino development proposal.

Campbell answered “as many as we thought important,” adding that some financial information was not included, because the group didn’t want to disclose it to the competition.

The developer that’s ultimately recommended to aldermen is scheduled to make a public presentation of the proposal at the Sept. 17 city council meeting.

Also at the meeting, the council held a public hearing on whether the city should allow recreational marijuana sales.

It drew only 10 public comments, most in favor of the city allowing it — to generate additional revenue, among other reasons.

Kerry Barrett and Phil Thomas both spoke in favor. They said they have an agreement with a cannabis sales business that wants to buy their former Big Boy restaurant property — later called the Border Cafe, before it closed — on Lynch Road, just north of the proposed casino site.

Thomas said it’s a good site for such a business because it’s near Indiana and would draw sales from across the state line, but also because it’s far from schools and residential areas.