BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – The first day of operations at the temporary Bristol Casino brought big crowds to Bristol, Virginia, but its neighboring street has seen some changes as the casino gets going.
The casino was surrounded by hundreds of cars as people flocked to the casino for the big jackpot or just to have a bit of fun.
But on neighboring Veda Drive to the north of the casino, residents or what’s left of them are seeing big changes to their street.
“I have noticed a lot of bed and breakfasts coming around. There’s not too many residents still,” said Veda Street resident Summer Seals.
Seals said short-term rentals now outnumber permanent residents on Veda Drive, something that has completely changed over the last year.
“You got the one right across from me. You got the three houses straight across from me. Those are all B&Bs. You got two down the road, so there’s probably about six or seven residents on this street,” Seal said.
The casino brought in plenty of out-of-towners throughout the day Friday despite some rain in the evening.
But even locals say they enjoyed the casino, including Robert and Brenda Mann who drove up from Kingsport.
“We loved it. We played the slots. We done decent. If we could’ve won something of it,” Robert Mann said.
“I had a great time and the casino’s great. It’s huge and really looks great,” Brenda Mann said.
Those packed parking lots were visible from Veda Drive. That’s a cause for concern with traffic.
“I feel like it might cause some problems. Might be a little blockage,” said Veda Drive resident Zamiyr Davis-Mapp.
Seals was concerned about neighborhood safety with the increased traffic.
“People are you know turning around where this is a dead-end if they miss the casino. You just better be aware, alert. You got little kids playing,” Seals said.
But Seals and Davis-Mapp both agreed the casino is a positive for Bristol.
“I feel like it’s going to bring a lot of job opportunities, a lot of new faces to the area to the city. It’s definitely going to make Bristol really flourish,” Davis-Mapp said.
Brenda Mann said she hoped the casino could bring opportunity throughout the region.
“If they have goals to donate, I think it’s going to be wonderful for the community,” Mann said.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Hard Rock donated $100,000 to United Way of Bristol.