During a meeting of the Bristol Virginia Industrial Development Authority (IDA) various city representatives explained that the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel project won’t help the city in the short-term, and they urged for action and focus on helping businesses out right now.
Bristol Must Focus on Short-Term Goals, Say Officials
The Bristol Virginia Industrial Development Authority will not factor a proposed casino plan in their short-term economic development goals, the Herald Courier reported on Tuesday. The board convened to enact structural reorganization, including the election of Paul Conco as chairman and Ric Watts as vice chairman.
Members of the board spent around half an hour discussing what economic plan should be enacted to help Bristol recover after the lockdown, which has brought on the biggest unemployment crisis in the country since the Great Depression.
According to City Manager Randy Eads and Economic Development Director Chris Wilcox the board should not factor the proposed Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in its short-term economic goals.
The project is currently to be subjected to vote in which the city residents will decide if they want to see the now-defunct site of the Bristol Mall to host the promising and economically viable project. So far, the feedback has been promising and campaigners have already been urging residents to give their vote for the project.
Beyond the Hard Rock Casino Project
The Hard Rock Casino is expected to generate millions in annual tax revenue, proving a fresh economic stimulus for the city, and one that is too badly needed. Commenting on the project, Wilcox had the following input to add:
“Looking at cities that come up with successful economic development strategic plans, they’ve incorporated a number of people from different disciplines, and that’s what we want to do.”
Conco joined in explaining that the city should now look at and focus on the short-term objective and what can be done by June 30, 2021. He noted that additional help as to the Hard Rock Casino by an expert wouldn’t be turned down either.
However, the first goal the IDA should have is make some strides towards economic recovery by establishing a dependable action plan. Board members proposed to boost communication between officials and businesses.
Conco added that he would like to see a dialogue with tourist companies, such as Believe in Bristol or Discover Bristol and see how they can be aided to help the state boost its short-term prospect and bring more visitors.
Watts upheld this point of view and added “we can’t wait until the day they’re talking about closing their business to reach out,” explaining that a dialogue was needed right now. Both agreed that the IDA should establish a program that offers incentives to businesses that are under a lot of pressure to overcome current economic hardship.
However, Bristol’s casino will have to wait in the sense it won’t be able to help Bristol in the short term. The board still continues to support the project.