EDUCATION BEAT: Faith or fear: Which will rule Bristol?

Bristol, January 08, 2019:  I could list lots of statistics and numbers and projections — but I’m not really good at that stuff. Instead, I will direct you to a site where you can view all three regarding the proposed Bristol Casino and Convention Center — and I truly hope you do. You should educate yourself — for the future of our good town and region. Visit bristolcasinoresort.com.

I am very sensitive to anything that would possibly “take advantage” of the poor, having taught at both the Bristol Jail and in Bristol Virginia Public Schools for many years. I have devoted my entire life (literally) to serving the poor and helping them learn how to uplift themselves from poverty through the Great Equalizer: education according to reports published in heraldcourier.com

The citizens of our good town do well to remember that these two gentlemen are putting up their own cash for this venture. They are multimillionaires, both well along in age. They don’t need any more money. With their long history of successful business dealings and economic acumen, I have no doubt they will create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our city and region — if our citizenry is not too ruled by fear (should an open referendum on this matter be forthcoming) to give them a chance.

Again, my friends, even more important than reading this column — go online and read about the proposed Bristol Resort and Casino yourself. Regardless of your current opinion, please educate yourself. (Yes, I am a teacher.) Visit bristolcasinoresort.com.

Our entire city council and school board have already both unanimously voiced their full support of this venture, for very good reasons. Please research this project with an open mind, my friends, so you will be well-informed and won’t fall prey to mere hearsay or fear.

I’ve talked to many local friends and residents about the proposed Bristol Casino and Convention Center. Most everyone seems to understand the tremendous employment opportunities and economic growth this project will bring. The primary objection I keep hearing is that some folks fear that many residents will become addicted to gambling and that crime will increase dramatically. And at first hearing, if one delves no deeper, this may appear to be a reasonable fear.

My mother taught me a most remarkable thing about fear: The best way to overcome it is to face it down.

One cannot fully predict the outcome of any new venture. Such is life, when taking a chance on anything big and potentially wonderful. And that, my friends, is where faith comes in. Faith in Bristol. Faith in its people to do what’s best.

I was given a personal 2-hour tour of the proposed casino/convention center recently, by none other than the two main investors themselves, Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy. I set foot in virtually every part of the old mall (yes, it brought back fond memories). I was especially thrilled to hear about and view the gigantic children’s recreation/activity area (which, by the way, is many thousands of square feet larger than the casino itself — as the casino will occupy only about 10 percent of the entire complex, the rest of which will be for family dining, shopping, a live venue for local musicians, the children’s rec center, and a convention/conference center.) During my tour, I never once heard Jim or Clyde mention a thing about how much money they might make from this business venture. Yet I heard innumerable enthused references about how greatly this project will enrich and invigorate beleaguered Bristol and our entire economically depressed region.

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