City council passes resolution for Redskins training facility - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Council approves Redskins "idea"


Monday night was a telling night for the Washington Redskins' future in Richmond. City Council is now on board with the idea of bringing the NFL team's training camp to Richmond. But, this wasn't a clear path to approval. Several council members and citizens agreed on an overwhelming theme: they aren't necessarily opposed to the Redskins coming to Richmond, but they're concerned about how this plan came to be.

"This is a Hail Mary pass to you guys," one woman exclaimed. "Cool it! Take another look at this!"

Take another look at the properties effected by the proposal to bring the Redskins here, asked several neighborhood groups Monday night. They say they weren't involved in the process of choosing the Leigh Street site, an area in the East End and the former Westhampton School site.

"We're interested in having a public bid and public proposal process that would allow for the community to have at least a nominal input as to what would go on that site," Nadja Gutowski, who lives near Westhampton, said.

"What we should have done is have open and honest dialogue," maintained that area's Councilman Bruce Tyler.

The groups expressed concerns about saving the historic building, zoning issues and keeping a popular playground.

But while the line of those wanting to speak in opposition to the resolution was long, many others stood up in support of it.

"Please consider this as a strong, pro-business economic development opportunity, as well as an equally strong community opportunity," Richmond Business Council's Brian Harding said.

Some council members wanted that community to keep one key factor in mind; the resolution passed by a 6-2 vote, with one member absent, isn't law.   It is simply a thumb's up from the council or an endorsement of an idea.

"Tonight's just do we like the basic plan, now we can investigate the details," explained Councilman Charles Samuels.

Council promised there will now be public hearings on the details of the plan, including what will happen to the Westhampton site.

Another Redskins-related paper, which would allow a loan to jump start the construction of the site, did not appear on the agenda as originally expected.

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