RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - "I have never seen Richmond more excited than I have seen it today," Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said capping off the first full day of Washington Redskins training camp in Richmond. "To see people walking up and down the street carrying their coolers, using the vendors. The foot traffic was just amazing."
The city and Redskins announced an estimated 10,000 fans attended the first day of camp near the Science Museum of Virginia on Leigh Street. The team said that figure broke their attendance record for the opening day of camp.
Mayor Jones said while Redskins training camp is expected to make an $8 million impact on the local economy, the exposure Richmond is receiving could be worth a lot more.
"The brand of the city just took a giant step," the mayor said. "Whenever the Redskins are mentioned, then Richmond is going to be associated with it. So people are going to say Richmond is a great town."
The mayor told CBS 6 sports director Lane Casadonte that Redskins training camp proved the city is capable of great things, especially given the fact Richmond had less than a year to approve, plan and build a home for the Redskins.
"It says we're capable, that we have vision," Jones said. "We have the ability to break out of the mold of just being a historical city. We also want to be a contemporary city. A city where people want to come, where tourists want to visit and we can be a sports town."
Bon Secours is one of the major partners that helped bring the Washington Redskins to Richmond. The company committed millions of dollars to help build the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center.
While the team will practice in Richmond for three weeks, the center will remain open all-year long.
"We see this facility as a facility to help keep the community healthy," Bon Secours Hospital System Administrator John Turner said. "We're going to have a men's health program in here. It's going to have a focus on men of all ages providing treatment."
Turner said there will be specialized health care programs available for men ages 20 to 40, sports medicine and physical therapy.