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Local North End Casino Partners Discuss Disappointing Decision


(Peter Picknelly (L), Herbie Flores (R))

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — MGM’s selection means Penn National Gaming will head home and several local partners are left without a casino project.

Many of those partners are businesses in the North End of the city.

Peter Picknelly, owner of Peter Pan Bus Lines, had a 50 percent investment in the Penn National proposal. He respects Mayor Sarno’s decision to selection MGM and believes the process was fair.

“I do feel proud in the competition we offered, which I am sure allowed the city to get the best deal it could with MGM,” says Picknelly.

Picknelly is not looking to invest or partner with any other developer for a casino outside Springfield.

He wants the casino to develop downtown. He also going to stay active with his other projects.

“I am very interested in being actively involved in development of Union Station and 31 Elm Street, which is a great historic building in the core of our city,” Picknelly adds.

Penn National was committed to helping revitalize the Paramount Theater.

Herbie Flores from the New England Farm Workers Council, which runs the venue, says they will still move forward.

“I hope all the focus can come together and there is no viciousness or anything else. I think we have to look at the big picture,” adds Flores.

Jose Claudio of the New North Citizens Council hopes MGM will move beyond just the South End. He says, “It’s one city and we have to deal with the whole and it’s key we work it that way.”

All agree it’s time to move forward, accept defeat, and work for the good of the entire city.

Meantime, a spokesman for Penn National expressing disappointment by the Mayor’s announcement.

Penn National Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Eric Schippers released a statement, which reads in part, “We felt ours was the best plan for Springfield given its optimal location and significant ripple effect. However, we respect the mayor’s decision and want to thank him and his entire team for what has been a fair and open process.”

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