Regency Companies Partner Jamie Myers confirmed to me he hopes to be the guy to help bring a casino to Newton. Myers would put the project right across the street from the Iowa Speedway. He hopes each one feeds off the other and supports the other (The Newton City Council gets its first look at the plans Monday night. The Jasper County Board of Supervisors takes a look Tuesday a.m.).
Myers estimates the development somewhere between $60 and $100 million with hopes of employing up to 600 people one day. The idea is not just a casino. Myers envisions two hotels, restaurants, retail and camping...maybe more down the line sometime.
It's still very early. In fact, Myers joked that he doesn't really even have a name for the project yet. Meantime, casino supporters are already working on the plan. They're out collecting some of the 1,485 signatures they will need to put it on the ballot before Jasper county voters sometime this spring. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would then have to grant a license to the project, even though Ottumwa and Fort Dodge have already convinced voters to support casinos in their town. And, of course, there's that little problem of Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino just twenty miles away in Altoona.
A top Republican leader told me, "remember that $30 million that Prairie Meadows loses on the racetrack?" He said, "they would love to use that kind of money to kill this project."
Might be a juicy fight, eh? Who said things would get boring here once the Presidential candidates moved out of town?