Monday, August 25, 2008

Frame Park Casino

Waukesha Mayor Larry Nelson announced a new possible development designed to help downtown. Nelson announced the city is in negotiations with Harrahs International and the hitherto unknown Vallozzi Indian tribe to establish Frame Park as an Indian reservation for the purposes of docking a riverboat casino on the Fox River.

Mayor Nelson says its the fulfillment of a campaign promise. "When I debated Ann Nischke, I said I would consider any economic development including a casino. Now the opportunity has arisen to keep that promise."

Waukesha Taxpayer League President Christine Lufter issued the following statement in response, "Has anyone measured the river? It won't fit."

Immediately she was attacked for being negative about development in Waukesha. In reply Lufter asked, "Seriously. Has anyone measured the river? it won't fit."

Director of Community Development Steve Crandell conceded the proposed riverboat casino won't fit but added, "It would be a tremendous asset to the community and would significantly boost the number of people downtown. Furthermore, we have done an extensive study of the surrounding area and have discovered that within five miles of the proposed docking site there is plenty of water to keep the riverboat afloat."

The mayor has appointed an ad hoc committee to explore the idea including several members of the community and local experts on casino gambling. Members include Drew-Who-Won't-Be-Named from the Vallozzi Indian Tribe, Joe "The Bookie", "Numbers" Melnick, and Marc Marotta.

Park goers had several questions. One question that came up was, "Where are people going to park?" Developers suggested that the riverboat would be big enough that people could board directly from both sides of the river simultaneously, so everyone could park at the bus terminal.

Alderman Charles Lichtie said, "I always knew someday someone would park at the bus terminal. This is great for downtown and we should just do it."

Park, Recreation and Forestry Director Ron Grall pointed out that the park already supports a paddle boat business and the river supports water skiing. "This would just be a bigger boat." Pointing out that the casino developers have offered to build and maintain a dock to accomodate the riverboat, Grall added, "It'll spare us twenty people and we get a free dock. It's a win-win for the community."

Alderman Hernandez, whose district includes the Phoenix Heights neighborhood already upset over the proposed baseball stadium, said, "I love boats. Ever since I was a little boy I loved boats. I see the big picture, but I'm not sure I should vote the way my constituents want."

Alderman Cummings was skeptical. "I don't see how it would fit. Won't we have to take down the bridge?"

Alderman Vitale was more direct. "Are they nuts?"

The mayor's schedule for this project was proposal on Monday, ad hoc committee meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Park Committee Friday morning, businesses approve by Monday, and the Common Council votes that Tuesday.

TIF district financing and zoning will be later.