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Gateway Grizzlies

Councilman expects 1,500 to participate in public casino forum


County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, doesn't want to take any chances when it comes to the opinions of his constituents on a potential casino.

Residents will be able to voice their opinions next week on Pinnacle Entertainment's proposal to construct a casino at the former National Lead site in Lemay. The 6th District councilman expects up to 1,500 residents to attend a public forum he will sponsor at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road.

"Without public comment, without knowing what the community wants — a councilman needs that kind of input to make a decision," Campisi told the Call. "If anyone is expecting county government to make this decision for them, then don't show up."

There will be no informational presentations, he said — just the opportunity for people to speak for or against the issue.

Legislation authorizing an agreement with St. Louis County and Pinnacle Entertainment soon will reach the County Council for consideration.

Letters in opposition or support of Pinnacle's proposal have been trickling in and Campisi has received telephone calls on the issue, but he believes much of the input on which he will base his vote will come from next week's forum.

"I'm just trying to get the county's input on the casino. I want to know how they feel about it," he said. "It's still up in the air right now."

Even if councilmen accept the Lemay proposal by Pinnacle Entertainment, which also is pursuing a casino with the city of St. Louis, the Missouri Gaming Commission will have the ultimate authority in granting a gaming license.

For information on the casino forum, e-mail Campisi at jcampisi@stlouisco.com.

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