It’s been the talk of the town over the past couple of months, now one day after Terre Haute’s casino bill was voted down at the statehouse, we ask local residents to weigh in on the issue.
The state senators vote on the casino was a tie, which means the bill does not move. But the way the Terre Haute community feels about the decision also reflects a tie, sharing comments on both sides of the bill.
“I’m glad, I wasn’t for the casino,” Vickie Curry said.
“We are so glad it was voted down,” Kathie Munson said.
The word that Senator Jon Ford’s casino bill did not pass by the public policy committee at the statehouse on Wednesday is welcome news to some.
“I’m glad,” Stephen Stapp said.
“To me why take the chance with something like that that’s going to hurt families possibly,” Curry said.
A big concern voiced by the community is that a casino could increase gambling addiction and draw an unfavorable crowd to town.
“If people have gambling issues, if they have to go somewhere out of town, it’s more difficult for them, but if it’s in your back yard, I think there’s going to be so many issues,” Charlene Kimm said.
And that a casino doesn’t have to be the answer to the city’s financial deficit.
“It just seems to me that we’ve got enough creative, smart people around here that we ought to be able to come up with some other ways,” Munson said.
But others agree with city officials’ effort to generate more revenue for Terre Haute.
“Well, I think it’d be good for Terre Haute. People are going to come right in off 70 and spend the night and they’re going to spend their money in Terre Haute,” Connie Jacob said.
“We are a small town, that we need to realize with the community we have, we need to branch out and grow and be able to give this town the opportunity to expand,” Teresa Brown said.
Although the casino bill is dead until the next legislative session, which starts in January 2018, it could resurface. We heard from Chamber of Commerce president today David Haynes, who says community leaders showed a great collaborative effort and if we do see this bill again, we may be better prepared the next time around.
“The take away I have from this is postive, a glass half full approach and that is we rallied around this bill, we mobilized government, higher education business in support of the bill and made our presence known in indianapolis,” Haynes said.
Haynes also says he’s been at the statehouse in the past two weeks more than he’s been in the past two years. He’d like to see more of an effort for local projects in the future, like we saw during this bill hearing.