City council approves resolution to use money from Norfolk casino to improve two local schools

NORFOLK, Va. - In a special meeting Tuesday night, city council members voted to approve a resolution for capital improvement projects at two local high schools should the proposed casino in Norfolk be built.

This conceptual rendering of the proposed Norfolk casino may not reflect final design.

Booker T. Washington and Maury High Schools would become the first priority for spending money made from the development of the casino, if and when it is received.

In an interview with News 3, Councilwoman Andria McClellan said the amount would equal $10 million from sale of the land for the casino. McClellan said that is not enough money for the two schools to share.

“Each of which would cost in the ballpark of at $100 million a piece," McClellan said. "So, $10 million split between two  schools doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.”

On September 24, the council voted 7-1 in favor of a deal with the Pamunkey Native American Tribe to build a casino near Harbor Park. All council members except McClellan voted in favor of the plan.

Then, during a last-minute special session on October 1, she was also the lone dissenter during the special session vote. The money was included in this resolution and would be a one-time deal. She said the casino would be tax-free, so no further revenue would go to the city.

“I think everybody wants more money for our schools." McClellan said. "We recognize that our schools, Norfolk Public School buildings, have a lot of needs and the two schools mentioned do have needs and there are schools that are in worse shape.”

Residents have 30 days to file a petition with 4,000 signatures to oppose the resolution. Right now, a website called No Norfolk Casino is trying to gather those signatures. Those signatures would then need to be presented the Norfolk Court clerk for verification.

Monday, the Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer emailed News 3 saying one of the next steps in the casino is to decide how much money the tribe will spend on it.

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