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Protestors voice concerns about Bally’s casino proposal

Updated: Apr. 6, 2021 at 11:18 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Dozens of people lined up on both sides of Forest Hill Avenue on Tuesday afternoon to protest Bally’s proposed 61-acre casino resort near Powhite Parkway and Chippenham Parkway.

Protestors stood outside for more than two hours holding signs and rallying for honks in support of their opposition to the project.

Jeanne Walls has been living in Stratford Hills for 40 years and was protesting alongside residents who don’t want the casino to come to their neighborhood.

“We will be looking at a 20-story hotel with nothing but lights and noise 24/7,” Walls said.

Jason Haase says he’s worried about the casino disturbing wildlife.

“There’s a regular wildlife corridor that goes down through there and lots of different species that live back there,” Haase said.

Haase studies genealogy and says there’s a high potential for gravesites in the area.

“I have found that there’s eight gravesites just in this area,” he said. “On the actual casino proposal property, neighbors have reported going down to the property for funerals.”

Bally’s says they’re addressing traffic concerns from residents by cutting off public access to their casino site from Forest Hill Avenue.

Timmons Group, a contractor working with Bally’s corporation on the proposed casino site, says they are planning the main access point through a new roadway that would start at the intersection of Boulders Parkway and Jahnke Road.

In a statement to NBC12 about the traffic and environmental concerns, Michael Monty, senior project manager for Bally’s Richmond, says they have conducted thorough environmental studies and are dedicated to “preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of our site, including any wildlife and wetlands.”

As for the graves, Monty also says in a statement, “We have not seen any valid sources that would indicate any graves on our site.”

Haase hopes this will motivate Bally’s to take more action.

“If Bally’s does get the proposal, they could at least honor the disenfranchised people and do a full archeological and gravesite study,” Haase said.

In both of their statements, Monty says Bally’s is committed to being good neighbors to their community.

Walls says she will continue to voice her opposition to this proposed project alongside her neighbors.

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