Boonville Helps Cape Girardeau Plan for New Casino
BOONVILLE - City officials told KOMU Friday that the Isle of Capri Casino and Cape Girardeau have discussed with Boonville city leaders about the impact a casino has in a smaller environment. The Missouri Gaming Commission voted to allow the Isle of Capri to occupy the state's last available gaming license.
The Isle of Capri gives $4 million to the city of Boonville annually. Lisa McClary with Boonville's Tourism office said she received calls from both the Isle of Capri Casino corporate officials and the city of Cape Girardeau, and also participated in a video interview with the casino. The Isle of Capri and Cape Girardeau wanted to learn how a casino would impact a smaller community compared to a metropolitan city.
"I received phone calls from people that wanted to hear more about what it would be like to have a casino in their town, and I was able to tell them that it's a good thing for your city," McClary said.
McClary also said Boonville's casino attracts thousands of tourists to the community every year. Boonville Mayor Julie Thacher said she does not know how the community would keep up with its pace-making improvements to the city.
"We've built a police station, we're building a fire station, we're building a new swimming pool. We have been good stewards of the money we receive from the Isle of Capri," Thacher said.
Isle of Capri spokeswoman Jill Haynes praised Boonville's cooperation in a statement to KOMU on Friday.
"Isle of Capri has a strong relationship with both city officials and residents from Boonville. A number of its local business owners, nonprofit leaders and of course, Mayor Julie Thacher, provided testimonials about Isle as a corporate citizen as we pursued the 13th Missouri gaming license."
While community leaders and residents emphasize the positive impact a casino has on a small city, some main street business owners told KOMU that they did not like how the city distributes the casino's money. An official says Isle of Capri is set to build the new casino in Cape Girardeau early next summer, and open its doors by the end of 2012.