Richmond Residents Rally Against Cordish Companies Casino
Residents in Richmond, Virginia have come together to rally against plans for a casino by The Cordish Companies.
The residents of Richmond do not seem to keen on the idea of a casino for the capital city. Over the past few months, operators have been vying for the opportunity to create a new casino resort in the city. The competition was down to three when Bally’s Corporation hit a snag and its plans were protested by locals. Officials in the city decided to cut them lose, so now only The Cordish Companies and UrbanOne are in the running. This week, protestors are now out in the location where The Cordish Companies have planned to open a venue. Many residents think the plan would be a big mistake.
No Casino Here
This week, dozens of residents from Richmond were at the Bow Tie Cinemas site to protest the plan by The Cordish Companies. Signs and cow bells were held by protestors as they tried to get everyone nearby to hear their plight.
The plan by Cordish is to create a 1.9 million square foot facility. Residents think such a large property will damage local businesses. Some feel that the casino will take money from the city. The opposition is so strong that several groups have come out against the project.
According to one resident, Jonathan Marcus, nine of the 18 neighborhoods in the area have issued statements showing how they are against the proposal. These neighborhoods include the Historic West Grace Center and the Fan District Association.
Marcus stated that the opposition is broad. Many are worried about the traffic situation and how development on certain streets including I-95 would be overwhelming to the traffic situation.
Bring It On
While there are those who are opposed, there are also people who are supportive of the plan. This past weekend, Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association issued a statement saying they are taking a non-opposition stance after a vote of 10 to 9.
The Cordish Company hosted a meeting with the Association in early April, explaining how they felt the upscale convention center and hotel space would be a catalyst for opportunity in the neighborhood. The developer said that the venues would generate revenues for the city and be an economic developer for the area.
While four other cities in Virginia already voted on whether or not to add casino gaming, Richmond is waiting for this November to decide. In the meantime, officials in Richmond are trying to have a jump start and find an operator so that if voters approve the option, they can get started.
This sounds like a smart idea, but there seems to be a great deal of opposition to the remaining projects on the table. Will voters even approve gaming in November with the ballot vote? All of this work may be put in to getting a casino project ready and voters might not even approve the option.
It will be interesting to see if the chosen developer will be able to provide a solid plan that will be appealing to the mass majority so that a casino can become a reality in Richmond. If ask many people in the city though, they are not ready to see gaming come to their neighborhood.
The individuals protesting would rather the neighborhoods grow and expand as they have been with local businesses instead of seeing a big company come in and cause a disruption.
It will be interesting to see if the protests of The Cordish Companies plan will see the city officials decide to go with UrbanOne. Or perhaps the UrbanOne plan will be next on the list of protests as residents do not want to see a casino created in their neighborhood at all.