Homewood Casino Plan Begins to Take Form

Jobs, entertainment and funding for education are all anticipated to come along with a South Suburban casino should Homewood secure its development.

Plans for an “economic development engine” are starting to take shape after last Monday’s information meeting, hosted jointly with East Hazel Crest. 

While specific details, such as revenue approximations and casino concepts are slated to be answered later on in the process, the village is sketching a vision of what a future Homewood casino might look like.

The casino will bring along with it an entire entertainment package, including a South Suburban hotel, according to the village’s legal counsel Craig Burkhardt. With that package comes about 1,000 jobs, according to Burkhardt.

“These are good, solid, highly-paying jobs that support families that send their kids to college,” Burkhardt said.

The issue of security and fear of an increased crime rate is a major concern for many residents. Burkhardt based his answer to those concerns on past experience.

He grew up in Homewood and played ball at Izaak Walton Preserve—in the shadow of the former Washington Park Racetrack. Burkhardt says the pristine reputation and character of Homewood remained unscathed then and there’s no reason the same shouldn’t apply now. On the contrary, Burkhardt credited Washington Park with funding many of the things he enjoyed in his youth, like musical education.

The villages aren’t relying entirely on precedent. In addition to state of the art security at the actual casino, money will go directly to Homewood first responders for the addition of extra officers and firefighters.

Revenue from the casino will also reach Homewood School District 153, H-F High School, H-F Parks, the library and beyond, according to Burkhardt.

“It would … endow a lot of things that are very important to us,” Burkhardt said. “This can be expansively beneficial across the South Suburbs.”

More details on this will come once the village puts out a request for proposals (RFP). At that point, one of about 15 national casino companies will vie for our interest, leaving the village in the enviable position to pick the best choice for us. Once a partnership is reached, the casino will reimburse Homewood and East Hazel Crest for all the incurred expenses of the process thus far.

That’s still months away, though, and even if everything did go according to plan, a casino might not break ground for several years.

“This is just the very, very beginning process,” Burkhardt said. “There will be much more opportunity for people to directly … participate in an exchange of ideas.”

Gary Dingle December 20, 2012 at 06:40 AM
I don't really care much for gambling. It is non-productive. It wastes resources that could be put to better and productive use. At the end of the day we have nothing to show, no product nothing but money stolen from fools who enjoy losing money that could be used to improve their homes, save for their kids’ college or invest/save for retirement. People who gamble all the time are probably suffering from an addiction. I am not talking about professional gamblers. It eludes me why any public entity would engage in profiting from people afflicted with gambling addiction. http://www.medicinenet.com/gambling_addiction/article.htm
Stephen C. Lingle December 20, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Without smoking this Casino will have an uphill fight to make money!
Lisa Landvogt December 25, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Another Hofeld GREAT idea (BUST pardon the pun) nobody wanted the OTB either and we all know how that turned out.
sarah January 23, 2013 at 01:06 AM
It would be good if east hazel creat and homewood work togeather on this then maybe east hazel crest kids can go to homewood schools and we can stop paying for privite school.
CitizenJ February 25, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Another financial boon-doggle and distraction from running a little village brought to you by president Hoelfeld and friends. Can't you voters get some new blood? Time to move on Heir Holdfeld! At least a different town where you can be a "mayor" without changing laws to do it!


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