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Gaming hearing planned April 22


South county residents soon will have a chance to let their councilman know where they stand on gambling in Lemay.

County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, will conduct a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road.

"I am asking for public comment," Campisi told the Call. "There will be no presentation made by casinos. What I want to hear is what the people have to say."

Pinnacle Entertainment recently was selected by the St. Louis County Port Authority in a request for proposals process to develop a casino at the former National Lead Site in Lemay. Pinnacle also was selected by the city to develop a casino in Laclede's Landing.

The St. Louis County Economic Council currently is negotiating terms of a contract with Pinnacle. Once and if an agreement is reached, the contract will be submitted to the County Council for consideration.

Proposal details and documents also will be submitted to the council for consideration.

If approved by the County Council, the proposal then will be forwarded to the Missouri Gaming Commission for approval.

In 2000, the commission rejected a proposal for the development of a casino at the former National Lead Site.

Opinions and concerns expressed during the April public meeting, Campisi said, greatly will affect his decision to support or reject Pinnacle's proposal.

"I want to hear from the constituents first and then get a detailed presentation from Pinnacle ...," he said. "Beyond that, I don't know what's going to happen ... I am waiting to hear from the people in April before I make a decision."

The council plans to schedule a Committee of the Whole meeting, he said, in south county so all councilmen can hear feedback from 6th District residents regarding the negotiated contract with Pinnacle.

In the coming months, he said, councilmen also will request that Pinnacle representatives deliver a presentation to the council, explaining the details of their proposal.

"We will be doing our own work on the proposal and then we're going to ask that the Pinnacle company come in and make a presentation to us, a detailed presentation so council members can have their own view of the company — just for the council members," Campisi said. "We need to all sit down and ask questions. We need that. We have to hear that. We can't rely on everything put into reports."

To obtain more information on the public forum slated for April 22 in Oakville, e-mail Campisi at jcampisi@stlouisco.com.

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