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Richmond to get second shot at Urban One casino

ONE Casino.jpg
Posted at 10:27 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 10:16:39-05

RICHMOND, Va. — The plan to build a casino in the city of Richmond is not quite dead yet, despite voters rejecting the idea last November.

Richmond City Council voted 8-1 to reauthorize previously-approved agreements between Richmond and Urban One for the development of the casino and resort.

Richmond will now ask state lawmakers to schedule another referendum, which could end up on a ballot later this year.

Richmond Councilwoman Reva Trammell said that because the vote failed by a slim margin in November, it warranted a second try.

She added that voters on Richmond's Southside, who she represents and where the casino would be built, were overwhelmingly supportive of the project.

The proposal now includes a two-cent real estate tax rate reduction across the city and uses additional revenue, millions of dollars, for city and school improvement projects.

There are also hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars that would be brought in for local non=profits and the hope of additional economic development in the area.

During public comment, some people were angry that Richmond City Council reconsidered the project after voters shot it down.

"The purpose of this proposed referendum is not to have a fair vote on a casino that already happened. The purpose of this vote is to hope that a little bit of people who voted 'no' won't show up next time," Allan-Charles Chapman said.

However, others pointed out the potential benefits of the project.

"There is simply no economic development deal that provides this kind of upside with virtually no costs or downside risks to the city," developer Mark Hourigan said.

Several times at Monday night's meeting, those opposed to the project said the city was trying to circumvent the will of the voters.

In rebuttal, Councilman Andreas Addison pointed out that it was not uncommon for local governments to pursue initiatives more than once.

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