Progress made for Richmond 2015 cycling championships
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -
Richmond 2015, the organization bringing the road world cycling championships to the river city, has raised more than half the money needed for the race.
Not only have organizers raised $11 million of the $21 million needed, but a deal was just reached with Henrico and now more counties could follow.
So far, the money has come from local companies, a fact Richmond 2015 officials say speaks volumes of the community's support.
"It's a difficult time in terms of money everywhere, yet the city recognized, as well as those who have participated, that we can't allow our present day limitations to prevent us from realizing a brighter and unlimited future," Mayor Dwight Jones said.
The state is also joining in that unlimited future and public-private partnership.
"I tell you, between bicycling and the Redskins this is going to be the sports hub of Virginia," Governor Bob McDonnell exclaimed. "While you all see bicycles, I see tax revenues and jobs."
1,000 cyclists will take over the area. They'll ride several race courses, taking them through the city and most likely, into the surrounding counties.
But before that can happen, Richmond 2015 has to show cycling officials the money.
Chief Executive Officer Wilson Flohr says that's what companies like Dominion, MWV and Altria, among others, have done in just the year he's been asking for donations.
"We've gotten wonderful support from corporations and organizations and I think that's the recognition of how important this event is to our community," he said.
It is not only important to the city, which spearheaded the effort to bring the road world championship here. Richmond 2015 has brokered an agreement with Henrico County and proposals are in the works in Hanover and Chesterfield.
Now, they'll be considered in the route and transportation plans.
"We're two and a half years out so we think we've made some very good progress, but we've got a lot to do," Flohr explained.
He says the organization is making progress in combating some of the concerns about traffic and parking brought by the nine-day event.
"Clearly there'll be some disruptions but that's part of having a world championship of any type of major sporting event," Flohr added. The excitement behind it will kind of pale everything else in comparison.