River North Group Makes Demands around the Bally Casino

    Bally Cooperation won the bid to own and operate the developing land-based casino in Chicago worth a whopping $1.7 billion. The Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, announced Bally's win following a lengthy selection process that involved several community meetings.

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    River North Group Makes Demands around the Bally Casino

    The River North community is known for its scintillating infrastructure that denotes art and design. Although the new casino adds to a list of the existing framework, not many people are in agreement.

    Some residents have come together to make their demands known. These requests border around specific infrastructural changes, support for those within the confines of problem gambling, and rock-solid security to safeguard residents.

    The List of Demands: Too Long or Just About Right?

    The list of demands was curated by the River North Residents Association - a group that focuses on developing existing real estate in the area to suit residents' precise needs. Their main goals are to promote security, health, and amenities within the vicinity.

    Accordingly, they've made some demands. First on the list is to revamp the existing music arena into a public park. Another important itinerary on the list is the building of a ramp that connects the Bally West River Casino to the Ohio-Ontario feeder. The reason for this is to dispel the "enormous volume" of looming casino traffic from becoming an issue on the surface streets.

    Amongst the groups' demands is the conclusion of every outdoor activity by 9 PM on weekdays. However, weekends will have a 2-hour extension, allowing outdoor endeavors around the casino to last until 11 PM.

    Residents also request that Bally limit casino events to 15 per month and that all performances be held behind closed doors. Part of the demands is that 2% of the casino's annual city revenue tax be allocated to the community. In line with the group's objectives, these funds will be channeled into developing institutions that cater adequately to problem gamblers.

    Security Is at the Top of the List

    The River North Residents Association places security high on the demand list. The group has stated that they'd like security personnel patrolling the area over a four-block stretch.

    Available security guards must focus on the casino and the immediate community. This is due to concerns that the Bally-operated gambling destination is bound to attract many criminal activities with its launch. This point was also a major topic in community meetings held earlier in the year.

    Hopeful Expectations

    On the prospect of a new casino, The President of the River North Residents Association, Brian Israel, had this to say:

    "I gritted my teeth. I didn't think it was the greatest idea, but I saw no alternative. I didn't want to have tax increases before the election. But now that that decision is made, I am certainly behind making this thing as good as it possibly can be and working to reduce negative impacts on the community."

    Commenting on the group's demands, he added:

    "We're hoping for pretty broad support for these recommendations — at least, most of 'em — even among people who supported the casino."

    With the 2023 city council elections approaching, there's a massive wave of positivity amongst River North Residents that these demands will be implemented. So far, there has been no response to the requests.

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