Press conference held discussing details of Warren County casino

by Ben Rodgers

Members of the Warren County Economic Development Board (EDC) announced the details of a proposed casino and entertainment complex in Warren County, in a press conference held Feb. 20 in Norwalk.  

This new project would consist of a casino, 150 room hotel, events center and bowling alley, which would be operated by Wild Rose Entertainment. It is estimated that this would be approximately a 100 million dollar project.

The location of the casino is planned to be northwest of Norwalk, close to the Highway 5 bypass.

Doug Shull, president of Warren County EDC, spoke about how the group advanced to where  they are now and how they plan to proceed with the project. At the press conference, Shull announced that the Warren County EDC has decided to move forward with the Vote Yes Warren County campaign.

They are currently collecting signatures for the issue to be put on the ballot May 7. Vote Yes Warren County must acquire 2,600 signatures before it can be placed on the ballot.

“To me it’s really clear, it’s a new exciting project, which I think will be a tremendous benefit to the people of Warren County,” said Shull.

Shull stated that this new casino would bring 450 new jobs to the county, including another 250 jobs during construction.

Due to Iowa gaming laws, the operator of the casino must dedicate three percent of the revenues to the county. The county has an agreement with Wild Rose Entertainment that it will dedicate 4.5 percent of it’s revenue to the county, which is more than the statewide average.

Shull said that the estimated revenue that the county would receive would be 4.5 million dollars.

“We’ve sat down and we think that we would like to dedicate 1.5 million to our school, 1.5 million to the local cities, and about 1.5 million to local to the county,” said Shull.  

At the conference, Vote Yes Warren County, had numerous local citizens and community leaders speak in favor of this project. One of these included Simpson College freshman Tessa Lengeling.

“As a student at Simpson College, one of the great opportunities from this I think would be the scholarship benefits that they want to propose,” said Lenegling.  “A good education brings benefits to everyone and sometimes scholarships are really the only way you can go to college.”

Lengeling also spoke about the pros for college students in regards to entertainment.

“A lot of students [from Simpson] end up going to Des Moines for entertainment, food, and other reasons,” said Lengeling. “I feel as though if this was in our local area, a lot of  students would partake in the fun of it and that would help grow the economy for the county and the Indianola area.”