For Riverside Golf Course & Casino general manager Damon John, cutting the ribbon was the lone hiccup of a seamless, $3 million renovation. Completed in December 2021, the ribbon-cutting had to wait until February 23rd, 2023, nearly 15 months after the project finished. Their investment looks to be paying off. The original Riverside Event Center served from 2006 to May 2021 and held a total of 5,300 events, averaging 333 per year. John was a Tippie graduate who studied finance at the University of Iowa.
The new event center features new audio-visual systems, modern carpet, and multi-colored LED overhead lights. John reinforced that the Riverside’s “impeccable service” still remains. Members of various chambers of commerce from Washington to Cedar Rapids gathered to celebrate the new event center. Michelle Redlinger, executive director of Washington chamber of commerce, highlighted Riverside’s established reputation for high-quality concerts. She pointed out that Riverside patrons enjoy “singing their heart[s] out”.
Riverside’s contributions to the surrounding community are important to their philosophy. Redlinger reiterated that the “compassion… Riverside gives to [the] community” is integral to the Riverside, and the business owes gratitude back to their community. A director of the Washington Riverboat Foundation recalled the time they gave the YCMA a “$3.5 million grant for a new building”, and a veterans group $20,000 for renovations. John touted Riverside’s “mandatory employee volunteer program” that has won the Give Back Iowa challenge five of the past seven years, including 2022.
Redlinger also claimed that the Riverside’s events “attract national talent” to a rural community who wouldn’t experience it without the casino.
Brandon Gibbs, who toured with Poison on their stadium tour last year, previewed the venue’s upgraded sound system. Armed with custom acoustic guitars, he strummed and sang a heartfelt rendition of Motley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home”. At one point during the show, he brought up Shelby, his daughter, to sing a heartwarming duet. Gibbs also performed familiar favorites such as “Stuck in the Middle with You” and Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”.
For older students looking for a weekend getaway, the Riverside Casino and Golf Course is a great place for it. The optimal time to visit is the spring, once their renowned golf course opens. You can find their website here.