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Boonville Residents Say Casino Has Been a Good Bet

29 December 2004

BOONVILLE, Missouri -- As reported by the Columbia Tribune: "Police Chief Jim Gholson finally can see the light.

"Gholson and his force spent 34 years operating out of the windowless basement of the city's century-old City Hall before moving this summer into a new facility several blocks away.

"Blocks from Gholson's station sits the Isle of Capri Casino, the business that made construction of the police station possible. Once considered a potential threat to the town's quality of life, the 3-year-old casino is funneling revenue to the city that many believe is essential to the community's future development.

"Its presence can be found almost everywhere, from rebuilt roads to new downtown street lamps and parks. Payments and donations by the casino have been used to renovate City Hall, repair local churches and fund public artwork, such as a statue of city founder Hannah Cole and a veterans memorial near the Highway 40 bridge.

"The litany of fears - increased traffic, more crime, an influx of prostitution - have not happened, leaving many city residents hopeful the casino will continue contributing to the civic, social and economic life of the community.

"...Boonville receives 10 percent of gross receipts from the casino, plus $1 per person who walks through the doors. That amounts to $300,000 to $400,000 a month for the city, adding up to a total $11.8 million since the casino opened in December 2001, city figures show..."

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