Chicago North Harbor Gets a Boost Thanks to Casino

Published on: March 24, 2008 

With all the recent bad publicity casinos and gambling have been getting in the news, its nice to occasionally see the plus side of having a gamin establishment in your city and how its revenues are being put to positive use.  The North Harbour of the city of Chicago can thank the lakefront casino and hotel that is nearby for the money that it is getting for its revitalization project, a very ambitious undertaking that will help boost the area and the community.

$3 million of gambling tax revenue that was taken in from the Resorts Casino last year is being put towards the project.  The Redevelopment Commission states that the amount could be a little more or less, but they approved the use of the money for this project.  In 2000, the city had implemented a tax increment along the lakefront to finance the revitalization project and the 15-story, $55 million luxury Harrah’s casino and gaming resort was built to help fund the rest of the development that will be taking place in the area.

The money that has been taken in from Harrah’s will be used to demolish old buildings, acquire land, construct new establishments and homes, and anything else that is needed to bring new life the North Harbour district.  So far the plans that have been approved include building forty single family homes and eighty rentals on thirty-four lots the city already owns.  These will be in the Main Street and Broadway area of the district and it is the initial phase of the revitalization project.  
An additional $6 million has been pledged by the city of Chicago to bolster infrastructure improvements in the area.  This money is an incentive for developers and whether or not it will come from future tax revenues from Harrah’s remains to be seen.  This money is set aside to encourage developers who want to invest at least $40 million in the housing and commercial construction that will take place in the North Harbour area.  By fixing up some of the problems that the city can take of they are showing the developers that they have a safe environment to work in.

Currently new sidewalks, water, and sewer lines are being placed between Main Street and Pulaski Street, visual representations of the tax revenue gathered by the Casino.  There is a $2.6 million makeover planed for the Nunez and Callahan parks starting sometime in the spring.  In addition to the money gathered for 2007, the Redevelopment Commission had approved $2.8 million in revenues from the casino in 2006.

Harrah’s is one of the biggest casino chains in the United States and around the world.  If anyone has any questions how a casino and resort can better an area, all they have to do is look at the project the city of Chicago has undertaken and the money that is being used to improve the lifestyle and well-being of its residents.

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