A group of Scott’s Addition residents in the city of Richmond, Virginia, came out Monday to protest the proposed development of a casino complex in the area.
Dozens of protesters stood along North Arthur Ashe Boulevard and West Leigh Street, the casino’s planned location, with signs in their hands and cowbells during morning traffic to show their opposition to the mega-million plan.
The Cordish Companies of Baltimore is the developer behind the project. The company has proposed to build a $ 600 million hotel and casino complex in the heart of the city’s Scott’s Addition district. The property will have easy access to I-64 and I-95.
The complex will spread over 1.9 million square feet and will feature a casino with 2,000 electronic slot machines and table games, 120 live-action table games and a sports book, a 300-room luxury hotel with a swimming pool, spa and wellness center, an event center that can host entertaining gatherings, social gatherings and conventions, a festival lawn for community events and outdoor entertainment, and 18 restaurants and entertainment venues.
The area where Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond is already designated and zoned by city officials as part of the larger Richmond 300 Master Plan.
The casino will be a huge mistake
Protesters on Monday expressed concern that the major development plan take money out of town and hurt small businesses in the area, including local restaurants and breweries. Furthermore, they noted that the gambling venue could cause traffic problems, as such an establishment is designed to attract crowds of people, especially on weekends.
One district resident called the plan a “huge, huge mistake” that would negatively affect local businesses that have worked hard for years to build their homes in the district.
Another resident told local media that nine of the 18 neighborhoods in the area have voiced opposition to the project.
Richmond residents will have the final word on whether they want their city to host a casino. They will be able to voice their opinion on Election Day next November in a city-wide referendum.
The Cordish Companies project is one of two still under consideration by city officials, with a $ 517 million scheme promoted by Urban One and Colonial Downs is the other. News broke last week that Bally’s Corporation’s $ 650 million plan was rejected by city leaders. Three other proposals were disqualified in March.
The Cordish Companies says their complex, if eventually built, would generate $ 5.3 billion in economic impact for the city during the first decade and would create 8,000 permanent and construction jobs.
It should also be noted that this is not the first time that Richmond residents have protested a casino plan. Earlier this month, dozens of Richmond residents withdrew to challenge Bally’s proposal.
Fountain: “No Casino” rally brings together dozens of Richmond residents: “We are going to fight this to the end,” 6 Richmond News, April 26, 2021