Norfolk Seawall State Funds Contingent on HeadWaters Casino Opening

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Posted on: December 22, 2023, 10:20h. 

Last updated on: December 22, 2023, 10:29h.

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Norfolk will soon statesman building connected its $2.6 cardinal task to amended protect nan metropolis from coastal flooding caused by nor’easters, hurricanes, and different important upwind events. The national authorities will bankroll nan bulk of nan project, pinch authorities and metropolis costs accounting for 35%, aliases an estimated $910 million.

Norfolk casino seawall Glenn YoungkinVirginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) is consenting to supply further authorities costs to Norfolk for nan building of its coastal protection project. However, nan money will only travel aft nan metropolis opens its HeadWaters Resort & Casino. (Image: AP)

In introducing his fund this week, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) amazed Norfolk officials by including an further $21 cardinal successful authorities costs allocated for nan city’s Coastal Storm Risk Management Project. The $21 cardinal is successful summation to astir $74 cardinal that Youngkin’s management already group speech for nan infrastructure undertaking.

A information of nan added money, however, is that Norfolk will only person nan costs aft nan city’s casino yet opens. Norfolk voters during nan November 2020 predetermination signed disconnected connected a much than $500 cardinal commercialized casino edifice sounded by nan Pamunkey Indian Tribe successful business pinch billionaire Jon Yarbrough.

The destination will beryllium called HeadWaters Resort & Casino and will beryllium built on nan Elizabeth River adjacent to nan city’s Harbor Park Minor League Baseball stadium.

The people and Yarbrough this week unveiled a caller blueprint for nan casino edifice that moves nan improvement a spot inland from nan river. Jay Smith, a spokesperson for nan project, told that nan alteration is because of nan seawall project.

Norfolk Casino Concepts

The Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Project is simply a collaboration betwixt nan metropolis and nan US Army Corps of Engineers. The multiyear task includes processing and implementing large wind mitigation done structural barriers for illustration levees, surviving shorelines, pump stations, and seawalls.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden successful November 2021 kickstarted nan task pinch $400 cardinal successful national funds.

Youngkin is consenting to dedicate much authorities costs to thief Norfolk screen its task share, but he first wants to spot HeadWaters open. The task has been many times delayed because of design setbacks.

The people initially projected opening a temporary casino wrong Harbor Park during nan building of nan edifice connected nan stadium’s astir 13-acre parking lot.

Legal concerns, however, were raised because nan Virginia statute that allowed Norfolk to ponder a commercialized casino mandates that a impermanent casino only run “at nan aforesaid tract referenced successful nan referendum.” During their 2020 referendum, Norfolk voters approved a casino “on spot eastbound of Harbor Park Stadium.”

The task past sounded a phased development, but metropolis officials fired backmost astatine that timeline connected demands that they want nan afloat edifice built concurrently pinch nan casino.

Smith said because of nan seawall project, HeadWaters had to again amend its blueprint. The task would beryllium built from nan northbound to nan south, pinch nan casino first opening arsenic nan edifice and edifice amenities are finalized.

Casino First, Money Second

Youngkin didn’t mention nan Norfolk seawall successful his fund address, but specifics of nan $21 cardinal successful surplus money for nan task were elaborate successful nan 669-page spending plan.

Youngkin said successful summation to nan $73.85 cardinal group to beryllium allocated to Norfolk’s Coastal Storm Risk Management Project adjacent year, nan metropolis tin person further funds.

The Secretary of Finance is authorized to supply an further $21,000,000 of authorities support to nan City done a treasury indebtedness to further lend to nan non-federal match, contingent upon nan City applying revenues generated by a casino gaming establishment,” nan fund reads.

A Youngkin spokesperson told WAVY the casino information is “to maximize nan economical improvement associated pinch nan Commonwealth’s continued finance of payer resources successful nan project.”

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