SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — You’ve seen the ads and heard how MGM Springfield plans to rebuild the city. Michael Kogut and his team at Citizens Against Casino Gaming don’t believe it.
“The voters really need to get a handle on what really the impacts are,” Kogut said.
That’s why he’s on a mission to get his message across to as many residents as possible. He says if you haven’t heard from Citizens Against Casino Gaming yet, you likely will.
“Talking to some of the proponents, they are either ambivalent about it or the comment is ‘You know it’s going to go somewhere so what’s the big deal?’” Kogut said. “But they are not motivated to come out and vote for it. We believe that the opponents are much more motivated.”
Citing a recent New York Times article and other anti-casino research, Kogut says congestion on the frail I-91 viaduct and declining property values are major concerns.
“I think there is a hidden crime component and the biggest, I guess, impact is on families and people who spend their wages in the casino,” he said.
Proponents of the casino having any sort of development in downtown Springfield is better than an abandoned building. Kogut says there are better ideas out there, and uses other regional cities as examples.
“The city (Springfield) right now economically, development wise is paralyzed,” Kogut said. “There is absolutely nothing going on in terms of economic development because the mayor has put his eggs all in one basket.”
Kogut says high profile experts and a rally are just some of the ways that the group will be fighting against MGM in the next month.
“We are going, as I said neighborhood to neighborhood. Literature drops. We are going to be putting our lawn signs together so we will be matching MGM with lawn signs and just a door to door campaign,” Kogut said.
MGM Springfield and Mayor Sarno’s office declined comment Monday.
Voting day for a Springfield casino will be Tuesday, July 16th.