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Giagnorio reflects on video gambling decision

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 11:39 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 3, 2014 9:33 a.m. CDT
Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio said resident feedback guided the village trustees' decision to uphold Lombard's video gaming ban.

LOMBARD – For 49 days, Lombard village officials welcomed feedback from the community on a proposal to overturn the local ban on video gambling.

In the end, residents spoke, and trustees listened to their passionate stance, Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio said.

"We wanted to look and see where the community was coming from, and it was very clear," Giagnorio said Tuesday morning. "Once I made my decision, there was no doubt in my mind."

Giagnorio, on May 1, broke a 3 to 3 tie by voting in favor of directing staff to draft an ordinance that would overturn the ban. In the time since, residents made it very clear to Giagnorio they did not support the legalization of video gaming in their village.

Between two formal petitions, emails, voice mails, text messages and personal sentiment, hundreds of Lombard residents spoke their peace, Giagnorio said.

"It was a great process," Giagnorio said. "It turned out to be a real positive thing allowing the public to be heard – they did that loud and clear."

Despite a handful of local business owners who expressed interest in video gaming on May 1, there wasn't a show of support in the time since, said Giagnorio, who owns a restaurant in town.

"You would think if there was a groundswell from the business community, they would have been calling me all the time and garnering support from the residents," Giagnorio said. "There wasn't any of that."

Giagnorio said this was one of the most challenging issues he has been a part of since being elected village president last year.

"This one was starting to get really public," Giagnorio said. "In that sense, it was definitely one of them."

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