TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Churchill Downs executives said they knew early on how important the location of the Queen of Terre Haute Casino was to the local community.

“We got the message,” Senior Vice President of Corporate Development Jason Sauer said. “Not just recently since we won the license, but over the course of several months the people of Terre Haute were not shy about this topic. We received calls and emails and letters, and while the message wasn’t uniform, overwhelmingly people wanted us to focus this development on the east side.”

And focus there they did. CDI filed an application Monday with the Vigo County Area Planning Department to build the Queen of Terre Haute Casino off of East Margaret Avenue on the east side, west of State Road 46.

Sauer said officials within Terre Haute and the larger Vigo County community have showed support of the decision, including Mayor Duke Bennett and the three Vigo County commissioners.

Sauer said the move from the company’s originally proposed location, farther south near Haute City Center, allows the casino to be five miles and one exit closer to Indianapolis, where the company hopes to draw more patrons.

Additionally, the east side site’s size of approximately 50 acres allows for future expansion.

“This is more than twice the size of the site that we were looking at,” Sauer explained. “It’s roughly twice the size of any of the companies that were looking to build in Terre Haute, the sites that they were looking at. It gives us great flexibility, not just to build everything that we said we were going to build in our application, but it gives us great flexibility for future growth.”

Sauer said Monday kicked off a planning and zoning process that will likely take two-three months to complete, although CDI officials are hoping to get shovels into the ground sooner.

The location application is subject to approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission as well as some city officials.

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