By Natalie Zarowny
Mayor Gluba, city officials, and some members of the public went for a ride Tuesday to see how Dubuque's city-owned gaming model has been a major moneymaker.
"I think Dubuque has done a really impressive job. Both with their development and the way they handled the financial part of it," said Kelli Grubbs, chair of the Davenport Community Improvement Corporation.
The tour started with an overview of Dubuque's gaming model, plus a question and answer session.
Over 20 years ago, the city started a city owned racetrack, which would later become Mystique Casino.
It's overseen by the Dubuque Racing Association, a panel of volunteers and a few city officials.
Since the casino opened in 2003, it's made nearly $100 million in revenue for the city.
"When you manage your own destiny, and I think that's what we do here it's owned by the city, it's governed by the boards, and we get to operate, you see that money going back to the community over and over again," said Jesús Avilés, CEO of the Dubuque Racing Association.
The tour continued with a tour of Diamond Jo, a privately owned casino in town.
A big difference between Dubuque's model compared to Davenport's, is there would be no privately owned casino in Davenport.
Then on to Mystique, the city-owned casino.
Folks on the tour said it was helpful to see both.
"I think you can read the information, but not until you've actually talked to the people and hear their opinion of what they've done here, it makes a lot of difference," said Mary Ellen Chamberlin, a member of the Davenport Community Improvement Corporation, and president of the Riverboat Development Authority.
Mayor Gluba said he's now more convinced than ever that a city-owned casino is the right choice for Davenport.
"This is the ideal. Not because they had it, because it's proven it works. It benefits the community.