On November 29th, Bally and City of Chicago officials held a community meeting with residents to address their concerns about Bally’s temporary casino that will occupy the Medinah Temple.
Bally’s River West project includes a gaming complex on a 30-acre site near Halsted Street and Chicago Avenue, which currently houses the Chicago Tribune Printing Office and is the source of daily traffic problems, the Chicago Sun reported. Times Executives led by Chairman Soo Kim insisted the project would ease traffic in the congested neighborhood. Still, they faced opposition and concerns from many potential future neighbors in the crowd of 300-person residents who turned out gathered in a warehouse at the proposed casino site on Wednesday.
Local Residents’ Concerns Were Heard by Bally’s Executives and Chicago Officials
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Chicago city officials and Bally’s leader met with residents on Tuesday at the Voco Hotel on the banks of the Chicago River. The purpose of the meeting was to address any concerns that representatives of the local community and neighboring businesses might have. About the temporary casino that Bally’s will operate at Medinah Temple pending completion of its permanent location on the banks of the Chicago River at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. Tuesday’s event was one of a series of meetings hosted by Chicago City officials to discuss the conversion of the Medinah Temple to a temporary venue. On the agenda for this meeting were ways Bally’s will contribute to the local job market. Christopher Jewett, Bally’s vice president of corporate development, and Ameet Patel, Bally’s senior vice president of regional operations, outlined their plans for upcoming job fairs and other local initiatives the company plans to host in the months following the casino’s opening.
Parking – a Major Pain Point for Local Residents and Businesses
Many residents and businesses have expressed concern that there is no parking at the Medinah Temple, meaning guests of the temporary casino will saturate the available parking spaces around the venue. Tim Doron, the project’s lead transport adviser, addressed these concerns and presented a report on parking options around the site. The information results showed that more than 5,000 parking spaces are available in the parking lots in the area. These are estimated to be enough to handle the increasing demand for the casino’s guests. Doron’s presentation also explained how the traffic, parking, and loading zones would function once the casino opened.
Eric Carter, the first assistant superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, made another presentation. Carter spoke about the police cooperation on a plan for public safety around the casino. Bally’s will hire security personnel and install additional surveillance cameras. At the same time, the Chicago Police Department will increase patrols in the area and organize special training courses for law enforcement officers on everyday casino-related criminal activities.