Officials gather for Redskins training camp groundbreaking - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Officials gather for Redskins training camp groundbreaking

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Finally, ground is broken on the Redskin's new facility. Thursday, Governor Bob McDonnell joined Richmond city officials and Bon Secours representatives for a ground breaking ceremony at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center.

Even at 73 years old, Harry Cousins knew he had to be there.

"55 years," he said with pride. That's how long he's been a fan of the Redskins.

It's why he joined a host of others, including Redskins managers and the mayor, for the official groundbreaking at the Bon Secours training camp site.

"They said Washington Redskins are thinking they might like to talk about coming to Richmond. I said yeah right. I thought about it and said that's a wonderful thing. Let's see if we can't get that done and here we are today," Mayor Dwight Jones said recalling the initial talks.

Though the training camp is a welcomed jewel by many in our community, the steps to get here hasn't been met with praise by everyone.

"This is tragic. This was a beautiful park. These trees were probably 70, 80 years old," said Wayne Taylor.

Earlier this month, controversy brewed over the cutting down of trees in a park that's now part of the training camp. Officials say the park will be re-built.

Governor McDonnell touted the camp as a seized opportunity.

"You know what I see? I see jobs and tax revenue coming to the city and the state of Virginia…What I see is role models and mentors for some of the young people in Richmond that have never been able to see one of these players except on TV," McDonnell said.

 Cousins sees his favorite team now becoming his hometown heroes.

"I live about 2 blocks away. With all the strength of the good Lord, I'll be out here every day I can," he said.

There are signs of progress at the construction site, but the clock is ticking.

Training camp begins in July.

"Were' on a fast track. We're going to be ready," Mayor Jones said.

The training camp site will be open year-round, even when the team isn't training. Mayor Jones said during the off-season, the site will be used to offer health resources to the community.

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