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City Council Weighs Coliseum Deal, Proposed Legislation

Richmond City Council Chamber
Crixell Matthews

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has formally introduced to City Council a set of proposed ordinances that will pave the way for the controversial $1.5 billion Coliseum redevelopment project. 

Stoney announced a plan nine months ago to build the new arena in downtown Richmond and redevelop the surrounding neighborhood. Now the council can weigh in on the details of that plan.

“The city, in the past, has entered into agreements in which they’ve had major heartburn later on and I don’t want to have those misgivings after we make a vote, whether it’s for or against,” said Councilman Michael Jones. “I want to make sure we get this right the first time.”

The ordinances authorize the development agreement and the transfer of city-owned property to the city’s economic development authority and to NH District Corporation, the group that submitted the only proposal to build the project. 

Stoney’s vision includes a new arena, GRTC transit center, office space, Hyatt hotel and more than 2,500 new units of housing. The mayor says the project will create thousands of jobs and a new downtown transit center among other benefits. 

But the plan has some critics. Local attorney Paul Goldman is pushing a referendum that would limit the city’s ability to use new tax money on the redevelopment and instead steer it toward schools. 

About 10,000 of the signatures Goldman collects will need to be verified and signed off on by a judge in order for the referendum to make it onto the November ballot. 

The Navy Hill Redevelopment Commission, a body set up by City Council late last year also has to review the plan. The committee now has 90 days to conduct their review.


Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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