The North River issue has finally crept back into the headlines with the news that a local architectural firm, MSKTD (short for MOAKE SHELDON KRATZAT THOMPSON DEARING), has prepared a $163 million downtown project for the 29-acre site which may contain hazardous materials left over from its previous owner, Omni Source.
The firm – hired by the Summit City Grand Resort and Casino Holdings Corporation – is proposing a waterpark, a theater, an IMAX theater, retail and office space, and a possible casino. A possible casino? The plan is nothing more than a Trojan horse aimed at backdooring the establishment of a casino in downtown Fort Wayne.
H.S. Liddell, CEO of the Summit City Grand Resort and Casino Holdings Corporation, is currently a part owner of the Sosua Bay Grand Casino & Resort and the Hotel Villa Chessa located in the Dominican Republic within the Caribbean Gaming & Acquistion Corp. Liddell’s group is pushing the casino concept even though a casino must be approved at the state legislative level. Mayor Henry has also said he intends to put the casino idea to a voter referendum.
I am absolutely mystified that anyone would want to move forward at this particular point in time on a project that appears to duplicate many of the Harrison Square features. Harrison Square must be completed and given a chance to succeed before any more projects are undertaken. The North River project is not needed and is not viable given the state of our economy. North River would pull patrons and business away from the nearby Harrison Sqaure and its components.
Are the proponents of a casino so money hungry that they will set up a new project that has the potential to damage the newly burgeoning Harrison Square project? Let’s hope the City Council takes a long, hard look at this ill-conceived plan and rejects it.
North River is the wrong project at the wrong time.