I Can See It All Now
Terre Haute (That’s French for “99¢ Shrimp Cocktails!”) is seriously considering leaping into the 21st century!
The local Chamber of Commerce, a body with all of the power and influence of a grilled cheese sandwich, has expressed its support for the idea of having a casino open here. This is an idea that gets floated about every two years. So far that’s all it has ever done – floated – like a dead fish.
Other towns in Indiana have casinos to cater to both tourists and locals who want a little more action than buying a lottery ticket down at the gas station/mini-mart. While I admit that a casino might offer better dining choices than the mini-mart, I doubt that any Caesar’s Palace would offer me any “Pickles in a Pouch.”
This time around I think the idea of a casino in Terre Haute has a decent chance of succeeding. The casinos in other towns have been open long enough to prove that they don’t bite and can be an economic asset to the community.
It is estimated that a casino here would create about 1200 permanent jobs. That would be quite a boost for any town – especially one that has one of the highest poverty rates in the state. On that basis alone I am in favor of the whole thing.
Some critics have argued that a casino would be a lure to people with a gambling addiction. I think that those who are dealing with that problem are already gambling and will continue whether or not there is a casino here. If they were to visit the casino they would be less likely to be involved with a violent criminal element. In a casino they would not be breaking any laws, and, if they were so inclined, they could probably visit the casino restaurant for steak and eggs at 4 AM.
The early TV news this morning covered this story and mentioned that there are three possible locations in town that are being considered.
1) By the banks of the Wabash River. While it might be a picturesque setting it would require some hefty infrastructure work; Access roads, utilities, and relocation of existing businesses. Not a good idea
2) Downtown Terre Haute. Building here would necessitate relocating businesses and housing in a downtown that is already having a resurgence of activity. Indiana State University has just opened a major student housing complex in the area and there isn’t room for anything the size of a casino (and parking). Not a good idea.
3) On Terre Haute’s east side by exit 11 off of I-70. There is an abundance of vacant land, the infrastructure is already in place, and it would spur new peripheral businesses. This is the location that makes sense to me.
I would also offer our backyard as a good spot to build the casino – I’d already have a parking space and they could hire all of our squirrels to be dealers.
It’s just an idea.
I can see it all now – Las Vegas on the Wabash.
Too bad Elvis is dead.
Or is he?????