City Council committee to vote on plan for Chicago casino, which has neighbors considering selling condos and leaving
CHICAGO (CBS) — A big vote will take place Friday morning for the future Chicago casino.
However, nearby residents are still pushing to stop Bally’s planned billion-dollar project for the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center site in River West.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, some residents of nearby high-rise buildings don’t like the idea of a casino in their backyards. One such person is Natalie Brackensick, who enjoys the sunsets from her condo balcony.
“It’s quiet,” Brackensick said. “It’s quiet here.”
Yet his view and his peace – and those of others in his skyscraper – could disappear with the casino. As it stands, its view from One River Place on the east side of the North Fork of the Chicago River looks directly at the Freedom Center to the west.
If the casino plan goes ahead, that would change.
“There will be a skyscraper – a glass skyscraper – basically right in front of my unit here,” she said.
Renderings of Bally’s $1.7 billion casino — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s push to get it all approved — led Brackensick to consider moving after eight years.
“I spoke to a realtor about the best time to sell, and she basically told me before they started,” Brackensick said.
The idea of a 24-hour casino directly across the river leaves Brackensick unlucky.
“In my head, I think, I paid property taxes for how many years — and trusted people to watch over us and watch over our neighborhood,” she said, “and that is disappointing.”
On Friday, the city council’s special committee on the casino meets – and if the plan moves forward, it will then be put to a vote by the full city council.
“Please vote no. This could happen to your own community,” Hui Wang said. “Don’t rush into a decision.”
Wang and her husband moved into the neighborhood two years ago. Although her sight is not blocked like Brackensick’s, she is equally worried about the casino’s negative impact, such as crime and traffic.
“We didn’t choose downtown further because we wanted to be away from the tourists, and it looks like it’s going to drastically change the dynamics of our community,” Wang said.
While the city has held town hall meetings on the casino project, many in River West say they still feel slighted.
“It’s not that residents are 100% against it, it’s more that there’s little community engagement,” Wang said.
The city council committee is expected to approve the plans – but residents hope there won’t be enough support from the full city council.
But in the meantime, Terry learns that residents near the casino site are preparing to lose the peace of their balconies and put their units on the market.