RICHMOND, Va. -- Supporters of a proposed casino on Richmond’s Southside applauded the city’s decision to go all in backing the massive project.
After narrowing down six proposals, Richmond's Resort Casino Evaluation Panel backed ONE Casino + Resort to potentially break ground in the city.
The $600 million proposed gaming and entertainment destination would be located on Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond. It would historically be the first Black-owned casino in the country.
Councilwoman Reva Trammell represents the 8th district where the casino would be built.
“It’s all of Southside. It’s not just the 8th district. It’s for all of us,” Trammell told CBS 6 while wiping away tears.
The panel said they made its recommendation based on multiple factors including the project’s feasibility and sustainability, proposed location, economic development impact, financial revenue impact and community benefits.
Trammell had fought to bring the project to the area that she said hasn’t seen a major investment in five decades.
“I want to say thank you Mayor [Stoney]. Thank you for listening to our people and listening to the people in the 2nd and 4th district that didn’t want it in their district. My people did and I did,” she explained. “It’s going to restart this whole area. I’ve talked to all the business owners over there on Commerce Road, all up and down Richmond Highway, Broad Rock, all of them said ‘please, please get it over here, please.”
Nearly every casino proposal was protested and received great opposition, except the Southside project. However, there are some who are against having a casino in Richmond no matter the location citing gambling and traffic concerns among other issues.
“Oh great more ways for people to lose their money and more crime,” one woman commented on social media.
“Southside is so neglected, why would people NOT want more businesses, jobs, revenue, taxes, police presence, etc..?” one viewer wrote on Facebook.
Carolyn Johnson, Vice President of the McGuire Civic Association, voiced her support for the casino and spoke at City Council.
“I think it is an awesome day for everyone. It’s win-win. You can’t go wrong,” Johnson stated.
Johnson supported the casino’s plans to bring high-earning jobs to her neighborhood that has often been overlooked by other industries.
“It’s an opportunity for someone to go to work with dignity, to earn and honest wage,” she said. “Nobody wants it in their backyard, but the difference is this building is going to be in a commercial area. It’s away from the residents. It’s easy access off I-95.”
Councilman Mike Jones of the 9th district believed Mayor Levar Stoney and the committee made the right choice. He believed city council will vote to approve the project.
But, it’s the voters that will have the final say during a referendum in November.
“Should the residents of Richmond have the opportunity to vote for this project and I for one cannot stop democracy,” Jones stated.