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Economic Development

International Economic Development Council Announces Leonard Sledge as Board Member

International Economic Development Council Announces Leonard Sledge as Board Member

Leonard Sledge to Begin Serving Tenure as IEDC Board Member in January

Washington, D.C. — International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is proud to announce that Leonard Sledge, Director, Department of Economic Development of City of Richmond, has joined the IEDC Board of Directors for a two-year term. The process took place during the annual board meeting on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at IEDC's 2021 Annual Conference in Nashville, TN. The upcoming term begins on January 1, 2022.

"We look forward to the addition of Sledge to our Board of Directors,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and President and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara, Tom Kucharski. “Their new role will ensure great accomplishments in 2022 and beyond." 

“We are very pleased with the credentials and commitment to economic development of our new board. They will help lead the International Economic Development Council to the future of this profession" added IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle.

"It is truly an honor to be selected to serve as a Board Member for the largest economic development organization in the world, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC)," said Sledge. "Now more than ever economic development professionals have a critical role to help ensure equitable economic growth in all communities. I look forward to supporting my colleagues in this mission and the advancement of our profession and the communities that we serve over the next two years."

Sledge is an economic development leader with over 15 years of experience. Currently serving as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Richmond, Sledge and his team focus on supporting the existing business community, attracting new companies, and transformational redevelopment projects. Sledge has previously served as the Director of Economic Development for Henry County, GA, the City of Hampton, and the College of William & Mary. Sledge received his multiple degrees from Morehouse College, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Phoenix. 

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.

City asks for resident feedback on resort casino upfront payment spending

Following Council’s recent approval of the resort casino Host Community Agreement, the City of Richmond is launching an engagement effort asking residents how they would like the city to spend the upfront $25.5 million that will be paid to the city by ONE Casino + Resort (RVA Entertainment Holdings, LLC) if Richmond voters approve the casino gaming referendum on November 2. In addition, by no later than January 2023, ONE Casino + Resort will pay the city an additional $1 million upon closing on the financing for the resort casino project.

The engagement period will span from August 13 to September 6 and will include a digital survey, targeted print surveys, and public meetings in both English and Spanish. While all Richmonders are invited to participate, targeted engagement efforts will be focused on the Southside.

The survey asks residents to rank projects based on priority and offers an open-ended opportunity to provide feedback. The survey focuses mostly on capital improvement projects in the 8th and 9th voter districts, which are closest to the proposed resort casino site. Click here to take the survey now. The survey is available in Spanish here.

Residents have the opportunity to attend public meetings virtually or in person:

  • Virtual: Wednesday, August 18 – 6pm

Click here to join the virtual meeting

Call-In Information:+1 804-316-9457   United States, Richmond (Toll)

Conference ID: 847 482 67#

  • In-person: Wednesday, August 25 – 6pm

Hickory Hill Community Center

3000 Belt Blvd, Richmond, VA 23234

For more information about Resort Casino community engagement opportunities, visit:

City Council Approves Resort Casino Host Community Agreement

Media Advisory
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Contact: Devin Wood
Cell: 804-484-4800


Richmond, VA — Richmond City Council has approved the Host Community Agreement for ONE Casino + Resort (RVA Entertainment Holdings, LLC).  With this approval and the required approval from the Virginia Lottery in hand, the city will proceed with petitioning the Circuit Court for a November 2nd referendum on casino gaming in the City of Richmond.

“I congratulate the City Council for approving a resort casino Host Community Agreement that puts Richmonders first,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. 

The action paves the way for city voters to have the final say at the ballot box to move this project forward in South Richmond. If approved, ONE Casino + Resort will create over 1,300 good paying jobs with benefits and generate an estimated $172 million in new General Fund revenue over the five years of the project. 

“Richmond needs both,” said the mayor.  “Great new jobs for our residents and new revenue to help fund our priorities and keep taxes low for everyone.”

If the referendum is approved by Richmond voters, the $562 million project is planned to open in October 2024.

Information on the project and the text of the final Host Community Agreement can be found at

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Richmond ranks 7th in both Economic Potential and Human Capital & Lifestyle in Americas Cities of the Future List

Richmond was named to fDi (Foreign Direct Investment) Magazine’s 2021/22 Americas Cities of the Future list, ranking 7th in best mid-sized America’s Cities of the Future for Economic Potential and 7th in best mid-sized America’s Cities of the Future for Human Capital and Lifestyle. Rankings on the list are coveted and measured by indicators such as growth forecasts, FDI figures, and number of universities.

“Richmond being named to Americas Cities of the Future list is an outstanding achievement,” said Mayor Stoney. “Our goal has always been to come out of the pandemic as a better and stronger city than we were before, and recognition like this proves that we’re on track to do exactly that.”

“Richmond’s ranking speaks to the importance of having a talented workforce and a great community,” said Director of Economic Development Leonard Sledge. “We will continue to support creating an environment where people and the companies they choose to work for can thrive.”

Richmond is proud to have international companies such as CameraMatics, HalioDx, Swedish Match, Safelite, and ActionStep in the city. In the current fiscal year Richmond has economic development projects that total more than $409 million in capital investment and over 1,000 new jobs announced.

To learn more about the fDi Americas Cities of the Future list and view the rankings, click here.

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