Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced the formation of a Casino Community Advisory Council (CAC) that will serve as a channel for community input as Chicago moves forward with its first casino.
The proposed Casino CAC includes residents and community groups from surrounding neighborhoods, as well as experts on a “range of relevant topics.” Management and oversight of the CAC will be jointly shared by the Department of Planning and Development, the Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement, the Department of Transportation, and the CFO’s office.
“Since beginning the process to secure a Chicago Casino, my administration has remained dedicated to ensuring our residents have every opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns about it,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
“This Community Advisory Council,” she added, “will create a tangible space for this important engagement and allow community stakeholders of all kinds to have a meaningful impact before, during, and after the casino’s construction.”
The council will also consider issues related to the operation of the temporary site of the casino. The Casino CAC will remain intact until the opening of the permanent casino.
“From the beginning, Bally’s has made it a priority to listen and respond to community feedback,” said Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim. “We are committed to being good neighbors and corporate citizens, and we look forward to working with all members of the [council].”
The Bally’s Casino is a nearly $1.7 billion investment. The temporary casino is set to open its doors in the second quarter of 2023 and the permanent site will open in the first quarter of 2026.
“The Community Advisory Council is going to ensure that the casino is developed with the utmost quality and addresses every concern raised by community members,” said Alderman Walter Burnett, 27th Ward. “The CAC will play a vital role in the casino’s success, and I applaud Mayor Lightfoot and the rest of her team for pulling together an incredible team.”
The group will meet quarterly to discuss the project and address issues raised by community members, including issues relating to arts and entertainment, economic development and planning, social impacts of gambling, housing and community development, infrastructure and transportation, local industry, equity participation, open space and environment, business and finance, public safety, public transit, organized labor, workforce development, and job creation.
Membership of the Casino CAC is subject to change, Lightfoot said.