River West

Bally’s executives initially aimed for a mid-August opening at the Medinah Temple. The corporation still needs the final green light from state gambling regulators.
The massive snapping turtle, estimated to weigh about 35 pounds, went viral after being spotted sunbathing on a rusted metal chain in the Chicago River last month.
Among them: the family of the woman chairing the mayor’s reelection campaign fund, contractors who are Lightfoot financial backers and two clout-heavy real estate investors whose children attended the elementary school where Lightfoot’s daughter was a student.
Chicago’s 30-year quest for a casino is now in the hands of the Illinois Gaming Board.
Bally’s casino is set to temporarily occupy the historic Medinah Temple, 600 N. Wabash Ave., before moving to its permanent riverfront location on Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street.
Ald. Brendan Reilly has led opposition against Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan for a temporary gambling house in his ward, and he’s skeptical of the traffic study, which was commissioned by Bally’s.
Samuel Bell was struck by a driver Thursday in River West. He’s the second cyclist killed on Milwaukee Avenue this year.
Weeks after Bally’s filed its application with the Illinois Gaming Board, the mayor created the panel, which has four “neighborhood representatives” and 15 “issue experts.” She said she wants it to be a channel for community input.
‘The Las Vegas strip is not going to be on your doorstep,’ said Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chief Engagement Officer Martina Hone.
The River North Residents Association issued a wish list divided into eight categories. The most costly asks are infrastructure projects — led by the proposed Jefferson Street extension and construction of entrance and exit ramps off the Ontario-Ohio feeder.
The plan for a casino along the Chicago River passed 41-7, but not before a screaming match between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who accused her of being “more worried about campaign contributions than doing the right thing for the city of Chicago.”
Thanks to a push from organized labor, a special City Council committee approved an ordinance authorizing Bally’s to build a $1.7 billion permanent casino in River West, preceded by a temporary home at Medinah Temple.
It’s an unusual timeline for any legislation to move through the council, and unnecessary at that, said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who vehemently opposes Bally’s proposal to break ground at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street.
Creating an “outdoor entertainment venue liquor license” is a big step toward holding concerts this summer at the former Morton Salt facility, 1357 N. Elston Ave. But two alderpersons are a little salty about the prospect.
Ald. Brendan Reilly, who opposes the River West site, warned colleagues that “the last time we were given less than two weeks to vet and approve a deal, it blew up in our faces, and it was called the parking meter deal.”
Just because Ald. Walter Burnett is willing to put up with the inconvenience of a casino doesn’t mean Mayor Lori Lightfoot will easily round up the other 25 City Council votes she needs to ratify Bally’s River West site.
Bally’s was picked over two rival bids involving South Loop sites: one by gaming behemoth Hard Rock International and another by hometown favorite Rush Street Gaming, chaired by billionaire Rivers Casino mogul Neil Bluhm.
In each incident, victims left the keys to their vehicles inside unattended before their vehicle was stolen.
The fatal shooting happened at a party at a short-term rental property in the 700 block of North Morgan Street, police say.
He was shot in the back and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.