This week, the city of Norfolk is set to see two public hearings regarding the proposed casino project. The first hearing already took place on December 16th at Granby High School, while the other is set to be held on December 19th at Lake Taylor High School.
The hearings are part of the process of Norfolk leaders preparing to once again vote on the casino proposal.
Kenny Alexander, the mayor of Norfolk, has meanwhile revealed a significant change in the city’s strategy to develop a casino venue. It seems that Norfolk leaders would not be aimed at having the Pamunkey Indian Tribe establish a sovereign nation within the city’s borders. Instead, they would follow the state-driven process implemented by their Portsmouth colleagues in their policy to bring gaming to the city.
For the time being, casino gambling remains illegal in the commonwealth. A bill, which sponsor is Senator Louise Lucas, has been proposed to change that. In case the proposed piece of legislation is passed by the state’s lawmakers, the cities of Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville and Bristol would be given the chance to offer casino gambling services if this form of gambling is specifically approved by the voters in each of the aforementioned cities.
Citizens for an Informed Norfolk Continue Their March Against Pamunkey’s Casino Project
The two hearings are being held because Norfolk petitioners managed to make local City Council have a vote on an ordinance annulling the land sale agreement they reached with the Pamunkey in September this year.
Back in September, all members of the Norfolk City Council except Councilwoman Andria McClellan voted to make an agreement with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. Under the proposed deal, the native American nation would have been allowed to purchase a piece of land situated on over 13 acres in close proximity to Harbor Park. The land would have been used to host a casino.
However, the “Citizens for an Informed Norfolk” group has opposed the idea by openly saying they are against the Norfolk City Council to proceed as planned. As reported by CasinoGamesPro, the group managed to gather enough signatures to initiate a new vote on the proposed gambling venue.
Since then, the City Council had a vote to create a Mayors Committee on Gaming – a workgroup of 11 individuals, including 2 Norfolk Council members, who would be engaged with studying the impact gambling could have on the city and local communities. According to Mayor Alexander, the Group may be helpful for improving the communication between the city’s authorities and Norfolk residents.
Now, the agreement reached between the city and the Indian tribal nation in September would have to be amended. As a result, the 4% part of the gambling revenues generated within the city would no longer be guaranteed for the city’s coffers.