Moving on. Or not.
11/9/2023, 6 p.m.
The news that a second referendum to build a casino resort in Richmond was defeated a second time in two years probably surprised no one tuned to local news reports over the past week.
In days leading up to Tuesday’s election, a torrent of finger pointing, loose lips and name-calling littered social media. Unfortunately, much of the uproar stemmed from comments made on the airwaves of a Richmond radio station owned and operated by Urban One, one of the developers in the proposed $562 million Richmond Grand Resort & Casino. The other developer for the now-defunct project was Churchill Downs.
We won’t repeat the offensive rhetoric that perhaps led to the referendum’s defeat; readers can find snippets of it on the front page of this edition.
But with more than 60% of votes cast opposing the casino, let’s just say that it’s time for the city
to turn its attention to other economically viable projects that all Richmonders can wholeheartedly support.
Before we move on, we extend our congratulations to city leaders for their role and vision in supporting the proposed casino that would have been built in Richmond’s 8th District in South Side where big dreams and bright developments are in short supply. So are the projected 1,300 jobs and $55,000 average annual salaries with benefits that the casino would have provided.
Kudos, too, to entrepreneurs Cathy Hughes and her son, Alfred C. Liggins III, for their willingness to be bold and fight the good fight. Not once but twice.
Years from now, after the dust has settled, Richmond will wake up and realize what it, once again, let slip through its fingers.
Or maybe not.
It’s sad, really, that the casino defeat follows the 2020 death of the much-heralded Navy Hill development and long abandoned plans to make Richmond’s James River mirror that of San Antonio and other riverside cities.
Meanwhile, Chesterfield and Henrico counties announce gleaming new cultural, manufacturing, rec-
reational and sporting facilities practically daily.
And Petersburg, for years dismissed by many as a loser, appears primed to bring a casino to that locale. Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham told the Free Press that he plans to contact members of the General Assembly to urge support for Petersburg as a replacement for Richmond.
During the 2023 session, the legislature rejected outgoing state Sen. Joseph D. Morrissey’s efforts to substitute Petersburg for Richmond, clearing the way for a second failed vote in the state capital, the Free Press reports in this edition.
Mayor Parham said Petersburg should have a better chance to secure legislative approval in 2024 and could well have the support of Republican Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin, who has made improving the majority-Black city a priority of his administration.
The operative word is “should.”
Good luck with that, Mayor Parham.