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Holyoke Mayor Changes Course, Ceases Casino Talks


HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) – Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has again changed his position on possibly having a casino in his city, and now says he will no longer entertain talks over a possible project there.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Morse noted that “Today, I am halting all consideration of casino development in the City of Holyoke.”

Morse adds that the city will return the $25,000 grant money that was submitted by Paper City Development and Iron Horse Entertainment Group head Eric Suher as part of the application process.

Two and a half weeks ago, Morse held a press conference announcing that, while he opposed the idea of a casino in Holyoke during his campaign, he said that his administration was “shifting strategies” and would begin talking with developers who had an interest in building a casino in Springfield.

In his statement, Morse acknowledges the potential positive impacts of having a resort casino in the Paper City, as well as the possible negative impacts of one being developed elsewhere in western Massachusetts, but he says that “Initiating this process was a mistake and I accept that responsibility.”

After what Morse calls “a lot of listening” from residents, friends, and other city leaders, he decided that “Our city cannot afford to be diverted by this conversation. At a time when our community needs unity of purpose, a yearlong debate over locating a casino within our borders will only sow division and discord.”

To read the Mayor’s full statement, CLICK HERE.

ABC40 will have more on this story starting on ABC40 News at 5:00 p.m.

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