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Stoyan Todorov December 25, 2023 3 min read
Norfolk Upcoming Casino to Help Bankroll Seawall Project
Norfolk has been busy planning and funding a $2.6-billion seawall project that would shield the city from capricious weather occurrences with devastating economic ramifications
The funding has proven a tall order, with local authorities scrambling to secure money from different sources. The federal government has paid the bulk, and the city and state of Virginia will provide the rest, or around $910 million.
Virginia Happy to Pour More into Seawall Project on One Condition
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has outlined an additional $21 million that the state would provide to the Coastal Storm Risk Management Project in the new budget on top of the $74 million that his administration already earmarked for the project. Yet, this comes with a condition – the construction of a $500-million commercial casino developed by Jon Yarbrough and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
This is a major undertaking that will seek to shield Norfolk from heavy elements by providing advanced engineering. It’s also why the US Army Corps of Engineers is going to get involved in designing and executing the project as well, and the undertaking would be a major technical feat in its own right as there will be safeguards and contingencies to hopefully ward off overflooding.
The project already includes barriers, stations, and seawalls to help curb a potential influx of water. Gov. Youngkin is very much in favor of this project, and he is happy to put forward additional funding tied to the realization of the casino but needs some insurance that the local economy would continue to thrive, and tax receipts – grow.
The idea behind the mulled HeadWaters Resort & Casino, which has suffered multiple setbacks in gaining an official go-ahead, is to provide an additional source of revenue for Norfolk which would in turn make the local economy stronger, or so the governor’s office seems to think.
Repaying the Loan by Generating Extra Casino Tax Revenue
The Coastal Storm Risk Management Project has already been kickstarted with a first tranche in November with the federal government forwarding $400 million to lay the groundwork. A few of the setbacks plaguing the casino projects have to do with local opposition, and others with the hastiness of the investors, who wanted to go ahead and open a casino first, and only then start adding the resort parts of the project.
However, this is a no-go with local authorities who want, if HeadWaters Resort & Casino is to be released, to come as a full project and not be constructed and opened piece by piece. The updated budget by the governor just wants to ensure that there will be a way for Norfolk to repay the treasury loan through the additional tax windfall from the casino project.