NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s official — plans for a world-class casino and resort at Harbor Park in Norfolk are moving forward.
City leaders voted to give the green light on the next step of the proposed project with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe following a divided public hearing on the issue.
The vote means Norfolk city council is entering into an agreement with the tribe to tentatively sell waterfront property to build the multi-million dollar casino in the Mermaid City.
Councilwoman Andria McClellan was the lone member to vote no.
“We should provide far more than a two-week period for questions and answers to our constituents. Tonight I believe we have let you down,” McClellan said.
The speakers at the podium were split in their opinions. Several people said they welcome the casino.
“It will bring great opportunities to the city of Norfolk: careers, jobs and revenue,” one man said.
Just two weeks ago, the city unveiled the terms of the deal which showed the casino could potentially have 3,500-4,500 slot machines, 500 four-diamond hotels rooms, on-site restaurants, a spa, and an entertainment venue.
However, several others pleaded with city leaders to delay the vote saying they wanted more information.
“Holding a public hearing and then voting on it the same day — that would be a highly questionable action,” another woman said. “Do what we tell Norfolk school children to do – their homework.”
Others said they don’t oppose the casino, but they had concerns about where revenue from the project will go. Many want it to fund schools, raises for police officers, and flooding improvements.
The tribe would be responsible for all costs of the project including infrastructure, utility improvements and flood mitigation.
Now that the sale of the land has been approved, the tribe will be submitting their application for the casino to be approved by the federal government.
Stay with WAVY News 10 as we continue to follow this story.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the city voted to move ahead to transfer the land.