SIOUX CITY | The extensive reach of the former Argosy casino's rotating searchlight is but a distant memory.
The intense beam of light, which could be seen from miles away, was shut off for good when the floating casino closed July 30. The replica of the old-fashioned, 55-foot-tall lighthouse that housed the searchlight was recently dismantled.
The beacon was a special "design element" Argosy added when it completed a $20 million makeover of its Missouri River complex in 2004. The changes included replacing an older, smaller boat with three times more gaming space.
The lighthouse was meant to draw attention to the gaming complex on the banks of the Missouri River.
While the constant rotating beam grew to become a familiar part of the nighttime downtown skyline, it also was an annoyance for many residents. It could be seen as far north as Elk Point, S.D., as far south as Sergeant Bluff, and plenty of places in between.
In fact, the light was so far-reaching, city officials once debated whether it was too bright. They heard from constituents who complained the rotating beacon shined directly into their homes.
At a 2007 meeting, then-City Councilman Jim Rixner described the beam as "distracting" and "light pollution throughout the city."
City legal staff found there was no city ordinance governing its brightness.
The impact of the light decreased as a talking point in more recent years as the Argosy engaged in a high-stakes legal fight to keep the floating casino open. The boat's owner was forced to shut down.
Mike's Inc., an Illinois-based marine business, acquired the former Argosy assets. Last month, the three-deck boat, a replica of a 1920s paddlewheeler, was piloted to a shipyard in Wood River, Ill.