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Danville expects $15M casino payment to come by next week as council hears timeline for Caesars project

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Danville City Council meets Tuesday night in the council chambers. 

Caesars Entertainment has begun the process of selecting an architect for an in-depth design of its Caesars Virginia project slated to open in Danville in 2023. 

Steven Gould, an attorney with Byrnes Gould Law in Danville representing Caesars, provided a timeline for development of the project through 2023. 

"This is a project our entire community will be able to be proud of," he told Danville City Council during its regular meeting Tuesday night. 

The company's promised up-front payment of $15 million to the city will be made on or before Dec. 9 and Caesars' $5 million purchase of the Schoolfield site will take place by Dec. 31, as pledged, Gould said. 

As for the $15 million up-front payment, City Council had a first reading of an agenda item to budget and appropriate the $15 million. But it looks like the city will not appropriate it all at once, but will hold votes on each expenditure on a case-by-case basis. 

Of that $15 million, council has already voted to spend $5.9 million toward a new police station in the former Dan River Inc. executive building off Memorial Drive.

City Councilman Lee Vogler expressed concerns about spending what remains of the $15 million all at once, and said he would not vote on the agenda item in its present form. 

He proposed requiring discussion and City Council approval on individual expenditures from the money on a case-by-case basis. 

Councilmen agreed they needed to carefully consider how the city would spend the money. 

As for the casino project, a manager will be selected for the Schoolfield property next year, Gould said. 

A contractor should be selected for construction of the project in the second or third quarter in 2021, with a groundbreaking in the fourth quarter, Gould said. 

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