TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Terre Haute City Council voted unanimously at its meeting Thursday to approve the rezoning of property to allow Churchill Downs to build a casino.
Thursday night’s approval marks the final step for city council in approving the casino. This comes after the Vigo County Area Planning Commission voted Wednesday to give a favorable recommendation for the rezoning of a property off of East Margaret Drive in Terre Haute.
Now that both the commission and city council have approved, the area will be rezoned from an O-1 Agricultural district to a C-3 Regional Commerce District.
Next, Churchill Downs will seek location approval on Tuesday, March 8 from the Indiana Gaming Commission in a meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. Additionally, the company will need approval from the FAA, due to the property’s proximity to the airport.
The proposed 150 foot project also exceeds Terre Haute’s limit of 125 feet, which means they will need to get a height variance as well.
“Ultimately, the height of our building and the location of the airport, that kind of limited us a little bit,” Ryan Jordan, Senior Vice President of Real Estate at Churchill Downs, said. “But, we’re very pleased with our property given our visibility from the express way that the hotel tower will be out of the clearance way from the airport.”
Churchill Downs officials said the company plans to break ground this summer, with a completion date in late 2023.
Councilmember Cheryl Loudermilk said a casino will boost the city’s tourism.
“For years, I always thought we could use a casino here,” Loudermilk said. “You know, I think it’s great for our community. I think we have a lot of opportunities to build off a casino coming here.”
The new site would be west of State Road 46 and a major component in developing Terre Haute’s east side.
“We think its a great location, great visibility from the interstate,” Jordan said. “It’s great for Terre Haute and people visiting the casino and traveling from Indianapolis to see the Queen of Terre Haute.”