The Rock River West group, a coalition of community advocates for an urban Rockford casino along with the Rockford Aquarium, announced their proposal for the casino would be in downtown Rockford.

The proposed casino would be located at the gateway to downtown and adjacent to the anticipated train station and Amerock Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention center on the South Main corridor.

The group says the site would provide easy visitor access citing a 5-minute drive from the US bypass 20, 10 minutes from the Chicago Rockford International Airport, and 10 minutes from I-90 with easy on and off access thanks to the new bypass 20 entrance and exit ramps currently under construction.

The group says they want to enhance the vibrant atmosphere of downtown at the Waterpower District.

“This new Entertainment District will enrich our community while supporting the entire downtown destination,” states Stacy Bernardi, Rock River West Advocacy Group. “We envision that this project location can definitively grow more entertainment events for the BMO Harris Bank Center, Coronado Theater and Davis Park with existing and added restaurants, existing and new retail, and new entertainment attractions in and around the South Main Corridor and the overall River District.”

The group says a downtown casino could capitalize on Rockford’s rich history and unique assets. The group also points to the Amerock Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention center as a selling point for a casino.

“The casino and hotel once completed is expected to employ between 600 to 1000 people, along with the Aquarium employing of 120 to 200 full and part time employees,” said Victory Bell of the Rock River West Advocacy Group.

Other members of the group are looking at the proposed train station.

“With the anticipated train station approved in the state capital plan, Rail Transit provides easy connections to the Greater Chicago market delivering tourist through Founders Landing and entry of the Waterpower District and downtown,” Rudy Valdez, Urban Casino advocate.

The deadline day for casino proposals is August 16.