EAST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The East Springfield Neighborhood Council and others living there have been waiting a long time to see the final Ameristar casino plan. Ameristar first met with the council in December 2011 and has met regularly with them since.
“It looks like they’ve covered most, all of the bases that the neighborhood people who came to those public meetings asked them to cover,” said Kathy Brown, President of the East Springfield Neighborhood Council. “It’s comprehensive. Without a doubt, traffic was the issue. And the mandate was fix the traffic and then we’ll talk. And it looks like they’ve fixed the traffic.”
Ameristar changed it’s original traffic plan to widen Page Boulevard because of complaints it was going to force some businesses to relocate. They instead designed a new 58 million overpass from I-291 directly to the casino. Ameristar will pay for completely. Some people feel this will even help relieve congestion at the existing 291 interchange on page.
While many of the traffic problems seem to have been solved, some in the neighborhood are concerned about increased traffic through the neighborhood from the Chicopee area. Traffic along East Street, Windemere Street, Osborne Terrace and others could increase. But this was the only complaint we heard from people.
A lot of people liked that Ameristar is considered ahead of schedule by as much as two years over the other casino companies vying for Springfield. This is because they’ve already bought and cleared the parcel.
“As soon as their given the go ahead, they could have construction jobs and that’s what we need the most,” said mary Kirkwood of East Springfield.
Ameristar also changed it’s earlier plan of an entrance and Hotel along the Page Boulevard side of the property. Those are now along the highway.
“We don’t want the major front door to be on Page Boulevard although we did not want it to look like a backdoor,” said Brown. “We wanted it to look a respectable entrance way and they seemed to have addressed that also.”
Trees and a pedestrian plaza are planned at the page entrance.
“They’ve talked to us and they’ve listened,” said Phyllis Pearson of the East Springfield Neighborhood Council. “I think they did what they should do.”
The east springfield neighborhood council meets next November 5. The Ameristar plan will be explained in detail.