ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — “You will do nothing but bless this county if you withhold this zoning for this casino,” said local pastor Jack Johnson during the Monday night Rockingham County Commission meeting held in Eden. 

This came just weeks away from them voting on a rezoning that could lead to a casino.  

The land in question is 192 acres of what’s currently farmland, bordering a camp for children with special needs called Camp Carefree.

Speakers went to the lectern one after another citing concerns ranging from the effect of a large commercial project like a casino affecting the small-town feel of the area, to the stress it could cause the intentionally quiet Camp Carefree. Some brought up religious concerns about gambling. Some asked for a formal public hearing before the upcoming August 21st vote on whether or not to rezone the land.

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Sheriff Sam Page, who is running for lieutenant governor, also spoke.

“I serve 92,000 people. Not many people can say they have that many bosses, you have them also. Tonight, there are a lot of people here, there’s a lot of interest in your decision… I ask you to be transparent, truthful and upfront about your decisions because there is a lot of conversation that’s going around that gets me concerned as a sheriff and I’ve investigated a lot of cases, I will tell you this, I am going to pray for you, I am going to hope you are going to listen to the people, we are a government of, for and by the people, let’s listen to the people,” said Page.

The vote on whether or not to rezone the land is set for August 21st. Organizers against that land becoming a potential casino say they are contacting state and local representatives to advocate against the possibility and organizing phone and email drives before the vote.