RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It’s the end of the road for Mayor Levar Stoney’s downtown redevelopment plan.
City Council voted 5-4 to eliminate the multi-billion dollar project from its agenda, effectively killing the mayor’s proposal. The decision came after nearly three hours of public comments. Still, there are mixed feelings about the project.
“How about we take the tax dollars that we have trusted in you and use them to pay for the public services they’re meant for,” said one person who was against the project.
“I’m here to support the community, I’m here to create that thousands of jobs this would create,” said one person in favor of the Navy Hill development.
Five city council members voted against the re-development plan: Vice President Chris Hilbert, Councilwomen Kim Gray, Reva Trammel, Kristen Larson and Stephanie Lynch. They released a joint statement that read:
The Navy Hill Corporation proposal puts too much public funds at risk and represents the type of deal-making that reinforces distrust issues that continue to exist in our city.”
Four members of city council voted to see the project continue: President Cythia Newbille and council members Ellen Robertson, Michael Jones and Andreas Addison.
The Navy Hill District Corporation released a statement shortly after the decision:
While we are disappointed that five City Council members rejected the project, we are proud of the proposal that we delivered. Navy Hill would have offered a transformative opportunity for our City and for the Central Virginia region.
Moreover, the community spoke – and we listened. We met with hundreds and hundreds of Richmonders over the course of two years. We were actively working on amendments to incorporate the suggestions we heard, but unfortunately, those who opposed the project voted to end it before learning more – which is regrettable.
Our proposal would have revitalized downtown – creating thousands of jobs, investing $300 million in minority-owned businesses, building a historic number of affordable housing units, and creating a new stream of revenue to fund Richmond Public Schools, infrastructure improvements, workforce training, and more.
As you can see from the outpouring of support tonight, this was a missed opportunity to address many of the issues we have heard about through countless hours of community engagement.
We remain grateful to the four members of Council who carefully studied the project and collaborated to make it even better. We also thank our partners, supporters and friends – old and new – who worked tirelessly to move Richmond and Central Virginia forward, and to Mayor Stoney for his leadership and vision with this project.”Navy Hill District Corporation
Mayor Stoney released a statement, saying:
It saddens me that Richmonders won’t benefit from the housing, jobs and economic empowerment this project would bring — and I’m disappointed that council did not follow through on the process they laid out to review and evaluate this transformative project for our city — but I’m resolved to wake up tomorrow and keep working to move our city forward.
I’d like to thank the four members of city council who supported this project, the city administration who worked tirelessly to evaluate this proposal, and the thousands of community members who called, wrote, and spoke in support of this project.”Mayor Stoney
8News reported that the Navy Hill plan hit a snag last week after a majority of Richmond City Council members voted to strike the project from the organizational development standing committee’s agenda.
Several city council members had been outspoken against the proposal. Five introduced a resolution calling for the mayor to re-start the development process. They claim their constituents wanted more transparency about the effect the project would have on taxes.
After feedback from those for and against the project Monday night, city council decided not to move forward.
So what’s next?
The council is asking the administration to reset the process and engage the community.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.