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Video gaming vote coming at April 18 board meeting

Friday, April 15, 2016

Since early March trustees have been discussing the idea of lifting a 2012 ban on video gaming in the village. The impetus for these discussions came about when a group, led by Jeff Ludwick, sought approval to open a sports-themed pizza pub with a video gaming component as part of its business plan. The proposed location is in the former Golf USA store on Barnett Avenue.

During these discussions Mayor Marilyn Johnson and a few trustees have made their positions, both for and against lifting the ban, very clear. But, all of the dialogue, some of it passionate, will be replaced by votes on April 18.

In addition, there’s also been no shortage of concerned citizens speaking on the topic during the public comments portion of recent board meetings. There were more comments from the public at the meeting on April 4.

Resident Elizabeth Skyles-Jordan, a licensed professional counselor, spoke in opposition to video gaming.

“Discretionary spending is finite in households,” she said. “If we divert discretionary funding (via video gaming), it won’t be available to be spent in our restaurants.”

Tim Jones, a vendor with Midwest Electronics Gaming, had a different perspective based in part on his 35 years in the industry. Jones said he didn’t think it was right to limit one part of the proposed business. Customers will travel to other communities looking for amenities that aren’t here, he said.

“It’s another reason to stay in Forsyth and not travel to Decatur,” Jones said.

Resident Jeneen Sheehan said video gaming is not positive and not part of a family-friendly image. Sheehan also didn’t like the idea that the proposed name of the business, The Trojan Horse Pizza, Pub and Sports, is similar to the Maroa-Forsyth Trojan mascot.

“I don’t think we should equate the Trojan logo with gambling,” Sheehan said.

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