AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – There’s some controversy in Amherst County as a gaming emporium is one step closer to making its way into town.
This November, voters will decide if a Richmond-based company can continue building a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Madison Heights.
“I think it’s phenomenal,” said Tricia Anderson, who has lived in Amherst County for more than two decades.
She said she’s been to the Rosie’s in Vinton and was excited to hear Madison Heights could get one too.
“Jobs that are coming into the area that will fill some of the gaps from the training center closing. You’re going to get tax revenue and it’s going to put Amherst County on the map,” continued Anderson.
If they play their cards right, the $40 million construction project would bring 100 jobs, 150 slot machines and a total new tax revenue stream of nearly $2 million for the county, according to economic development estimates.
“So many people travel two, three-hundred miles to get to a Rosie’s,” said Steven Whaley, who lives in Lynchburg.
If passed, Rosie’s would sit along the U.S. 29 corridor in the Seminole Plaza Shopping Center.
However, some are wagering against the idea.
“Having something that’s going to increase crime is not good,” said Tobey Thurston, who lives in Amherst and started a GoFundMe campaign that’s raised more than $4,000 to advertise opposition.
She’s also a part of a recently established Facebook group Amherst Citizens Against Rosie’s.
“Do we need to revitalize Madison Heights a little bit? Absolutely. I don’t think that’s with a gaming emporium,” said Thurston.
“We need a more family-oriented environment,” said Debbie Vest, who lives in Lynchburg
Both Thurston and Vest are concerned that a Rosie’s in Amherst County will lead to more crime and drunk driving issues.
Even in the face of opposition, economic developers said they’re hopeful enough people will support the project since they collected more than 2,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot.
If the referendum passes, Rosie’s could be up and running within the next two years.
If its able to open, it would operate daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.