Beloit hoping proposed casino generates ripple effect
BELOIT Although a proposed casino and a new hotel are at least a few years away, city officials already are thinking about how that development could spark economic development in the city and surrounding area.
Representatives from the Ho-Chunk Nation plan to construct a casino on 32 acres of land on Willowbrook Road near Interstate 90.
Randall Upton, president of the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, said the casino would help attract business development near the Interstate 39/Interstate 90 corridor as well as near Interstate 43.
“You are going to find business development in those areas to reflect the increased traffic,” Upton said. “The city of Beloit and the city of South Beloit, the chamber and other organizations such as Visit Beloit and Beloit 20/20 are involved with initiatives right now to deal with those access points.”
City Manager Larry Arft said the casino could help attract spin-off businesses to the area. Shuttle bus service from the casino to downtown Beloit is another possibility.
“I believe it will help attract more hotels and restaurants,” Arft said. “There’s the possibility of additional shopping near the casino complex. With a complex this size, it will create a positive economic impact for this community.”
Upton said the casino also would benefit the existing businesses.
“It will benefit those businesses on the exit points off of Interstate 39 and Interstate 90 and enhance the interest of South Beloit and the Downtown Beloit Association,” Upton said. “I can’t see a way in which it wouldn’t. There are existing businesses, many of which are franchises and many of which are locally owned. It will benefit the entire business space of the community.”
The casino also would increase tourism and attract visitors from Chicago and other areas, Upton said. Many tourists travel through Beloit each year, and a casino could encourage them to make Beloit their travel destination, he said.
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