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Committee to promote Bristol casino project
special report

Committee to promote Bristol casino project

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BRISTOL, Va. — A committee has been formed to build support for the proposed Hard Rock Bristol Hotel and Casino, which appears on the ballot this fall.

In the coming months, the committee will engage with residents to answer questions and provide information about the project, and work with business and civic leaders and organizations, according to a written statement.

The committee is co-chaired by Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International; Jim McGlothlin, chairman and CEO of The United Co.; and Clyde Stacy, president of Par Ventures — the three principals involved in trying to establish the casino at the vacant Bristol Mall on Gate City Highway.

City voters will be asked to vote yes or no on the casino on the ballot that includes the presidential election. The casino question will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, but, through Virginia’s new “no excuse absentee voting” law, city voters can begin voting Sept. 18.

“I am proud to be joined in this effort by two leaders who share our commitment to Bristol and its future,” McGlothlin said in a written statement. “Clyde Stacy is a lifelong friend who has spent his entire career in Southwest Virginia. Jim Allen is CEO of a successful, iconic global entertainment brand, with loyal customers around the world. Hard Rock International is an organization that puts down roots and invests in a community and its people for a sustainable, long-term impact.”

The Hard Rock project is forecast to create more than 2,000 jobs with average salaries of $46,500; generate $16 million to $21 million in new annual tax revenue for Bristol, Virginia; additional gaming revenue for the city and neighboring counties; and attract millions of annual visitors, a study previously showed.

“For over two years we’ve worked to bring a world class resort, hotel and casino to Bristol,” Stacy said in the statement. “Hard Rock is here and ready to become a part of our community. Now, Bristol voters have the historic opportunity to turn what was once just an idea into a reality.”

Allen said Hard Rock looks “forward to the opportunity to build a Hard Rock branded entertainment resort that will make Bristol proud.”

The announcement included endorsements from Mayor Bill Hartley, School Board Chairman Steve Fletcher, Police Chief John Austin and city teacher Tracey Mercier.

The committee’s new website, www.yesforbristol.org/, also includes endorsements from Vice Mayor Anthony Farnum, school Superintendent Keith Perrigan, Economic Development Director Chris Wilcox and Bobby Nichols, training coordinator of the Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Academy.

“The new revenues generated from this project will positively impact the city’s finances and accelerate the city’s efforts to reduce long-term debt, provide additional funding for essential services such as police, fire, and schools and initiate long-delayed capital projects,” Hartley said in the statement.

dmcgee@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2532 | Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC | Facebook.com/david.mcgee.127

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