Neighbors react to Richmond City Council reviving casino proposal

City Council is reviving efforts to bring a casino to Richmond’s southside.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:53 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - City Council is reviving efforts to bring a casino to Richmond’s south side.

Richmond City Councilmember Mike Jones says the casino would be the area’s most significant economic development project, bringing in a half million dollars and creating thousands of new jobs.

“I’m for this being voted on in the city, as well as I’m also pro-casino,” Jones said.

City council members will have to play their cards right. In 2021, 51% of Richmond voters said no to the plan, citing worries over traffic, drugs and crime.

Those concerns are still valid for residents like Allan Chipman, who is hoping the city’s new attempt is just a bluff.

“I think it’s very troubling their continuing in this tradition,” Chipman said.

Chipman says City Council’s move to reintroduce a rejected plan is unethical.

“The people have decided in a democratic process that they don’t want something, and the city is just going to do a process until they get what they want, and that’s not democracy,” Chipman said.

Jones says it’s common for the same proposal to make it on a ballot more than once, though.

“It’s not undemocratic to send it out, right,” Jones said. “Just the same way we have elections every four years or every two years for particular offices. That doesn’t mean we didn’t listen to voters last time. It means we get to listen to voters every time.”

The casino proposal will only make it on the November ballot if it passes several hurdles in the coming months.

“Everyone should get to choose what they want to do,” Jones said.

A public hearing for the community will be held on June 12.

“I think they have better ideas than this. I think they can do higher than this,” Chipman said.