Henrico names initial leader of new ‘Sports and Amusement Authority’

Barbara Merkley

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) – Henrico County has uncovered its new “quarterback” to support generate sports activities tourism.

Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier will be leaving his present publish after far more than 10 years to guide the new Henrico County Sports activities and Enjoyment Authority.

The county proven the software in April of 2021.

“Dennis Bickmeier is the complete very best man or woman to direct the new Henrico County Sports activities and Enjoyment Authority,” explained County Supervisor John Vithoulkas. “He is aware Henrico and understands how sporting activities, live shows and other amusement can not only attract readers and gas our nearby economic system but also raise the high-quality of lifetime for our residents and communities.”

Bickmeier will oversee the new plan focused on rising athletics tourism and running the county’s private-general public services, like the 180,000 square-foot indoor sports and convocation centre beneath development at Virginia Heart Commons.

In accordance to Bickmeier, he’s currently seeking for strategies to use it and latest services.

“To knock on doorways that probably we have not knocked on before or that we have not knocked on in a lengthy time,” he explained. “We are heading to go out and knock on some doors to convey functions right here to our amenities.”

Sports activities tourism is a driving variable in Henrico’s economic system.

In 2021, even with limited indoor activities thanks to the pandemic, the county hosted 160 tournaments, making practically $60 million.

“Sports tourism is a earn-gain for our community,” mentioned Henrico County Board of Supervisors Chair Pat O’Bannon.

“What we’re on the lookout to do with this Sports & Entertainment Authority is definitely just take it to the upcoming stage,” Vithoulkas additional.

Vithoulkas hopes the software will faucet into new opportunities.

“Concerts… the amusement aspect that we have been missing out on as a area,” he explained. “People are definitely craving to get back out into the actual environment. I imagine our timing is absolutely great.”

Bickmeier agrees with that vision for the Glen Allen facility, outside the house of accommodating basketball and volleyball tournaments, in addition to significant faculty graduations.

“It has the prospect to host concert events as very well,” he reported. “We can do the outside the house activity in the amphitheater when it is heat we can do the inside of concerts at that facility.

The facility is anticipated to open up by September 2023.

Meanwhile, Bickmeier has invested decades in the athletics market earlier holding positions with Michigan Global Speedway, Automobile Club Speedway, Big West Convention alongside with several main league sports teams, like the Los Angeles Angels (MLB), the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (NHL) and the Los Angeles Rams (NFL).

Working with the connections he’s developed in excess of the decades, Bickmeier thinks there is a chance to carry nationwide attention to Henrico County, even by way of March Insanity.

“When you think about the prospect of a big arena with a opportunity to arrive right here with GreenCity, that’s a doorway we’re likely to knock on,” he claimed. “But it usually takes a lot of partnership. It requires the neighborhood universities as properly to have a seat at that table.”

The GreenCity enhancement is a $2.3 billion non-public, combined-use “eco-district” progress that would endorse financial expansion and environmental sustainability and involve a 17,000-seat arena for big concerts, sporting functions, and other leisure.

The development, located northeast of East Parham Street/I-95, would combine substantial parks, trails, and open spaces amid about 2-million-sq.-ft of business office space, 280,000 sq. ft of retail place, 2,400 housing units, two inns and a $250 million arena.

Bickmeier added his phone is presently ringing off the hook from his connections, hoping to get included.

Meanwhile, tourism to Henrico allows lessen household taxes, in accordance to Vithoulkas.

“We have people who come in on weekends for sports activities tournaments, situations they keep in our resorts, take in in our dining establishments,” he explained. “That is revenue to the county that offsets taxes that individuals would spend in true estate or personalized residence. It’s a substantial reward.”

As for who will direct the Richmond Raceway, Bickmeier said the group would go by a interval of transition from the leadership on the NASCAR aspect on what the foreseeable future ideas will be.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All legal rights reserved.

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