SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and MGM Springfield President Bill Hornbuckle signed a host community agreement on Wednesday.
The agreement includes the details of what the city and MGM negotiated in trying to bring a casino to the South End.
It’s an agreement that for example includes more than $25 million in property tax payments as well as the creation of thousands of jobs.
MGM Springfield President Bill Hornbuckle says he’s excited about the agreement.
“Very infrequently do you have an opportunity to show up in a community that’s got 15 downtown acres unfortunately devastated by a tornado and come in and make the kind of difference I think we cam make here,” says Hornbuckle.
If Springfield gets a downtown casino, venues like the MassMutual Center would play a major role in MGM related events that would attract thousands to the downtown area.
“This brings good acts into the MassMutual Center, and it also puts Springfield more on the map for conventions, meetings, creates a sense of excitement in the downtown,” says James Rooney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
The room at the MassMutual Center was packed with members of the public for the signing of the host community agreement.
Among them was Skip Rousseau.
“I think this is the best thing in the world that could happen to Springfield. I’m a longtime resident of the city of Springfield, and my heart is in the city of Springfield,” says Rousseau.
It is that kind of public response that Mayor Sarno and MGM hope will carry over to a positive vote when the casino question comes up on the city ballot.
The mayor is hoping for that vote as early as July 16.