Petersburg leaders pitch plan to get casino development in their city

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 11:31 PM EST
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - There are new aspirations for the Urban One Casino that Richmonders voted down during this month’s election. Now, some leaders in Petersburg have their eyes on the project, and they’re already making moves to get it to come to their city.

Pomp and circumstance surrounded the Urban One Casino and Resort, potentially coming to Richmond, bringing a theatre and sound stage, restaurants, a park, and new jobs. A website touting the project urged Richmonders to vote yes, but instead, they voted no.

“There was a piece of barren wasteland that not a weed had been growing on for 150 years, and we lost that opportunity. Within seconds, my brain was saying, ‘what’s Richmond’s lost is Petersburg’s gain,’” State Senator Joe Morrisey said. He represents both South Richmond, where the deal failed, and Petersburg. He’s now pushing to breathe new life into a project that he wants to stay in his district. “There are more exits off of 95 into Petersburg, five, than anywhere else between Savannah and Philadelphia. It is a prime location for a casino.”

Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham says he’s already met with an official with Radio One to show off potential development sites, including an area off Wagner Road.

“The important thing is they wanted something close to 95,” Parham said.

There are some 70 acres there that are open for development.

“We saw a lot of jobs leave the city in the 90s and 70s. This can be a gamechanger to put Petersburg on the map…provide the necessary revenue for schools, courts, our infrastructure, new roads… It could really help us upgrade an aging city that we have,” Parham added.

“I’m going to push hard for Petersburg, and I’m not going to accept anywhere else,” Morrisey said.

The General Assembly and the governor would have to agree to give Petersburg a gaming license to make this happen. Then the measure would head to voters. Morrisey wants this fast-tracked so that part could happen as early as June.

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