Hampden Files Petition for Surrounding Community Status with MGM
HAMPDEN, Mass. (WGGB) — Hampden is among three western Massachusetts communities that have petitions with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to be designated as surrounding communities with MGM’s casino proposal in Springfield.
MGM is proposing an $800 million casino complex in Springfield’s South End.
The scope of the project reaches out beyond Springfield.
MGM has designated several nearby cities and towns as surrounding communities which allows them to negotiate with MGM to help pay for expenses the casino may cost those communities for issues like traffic and public safety.
Hampden says it should also be one of those designated surrounding communities.
“We look at MGM as the hub of a wheel, well, one of the spokes is East Longmeadow, one of the spokes is Wilbraham, one of the spokes is Ludlow, one spoke is Hampden,” says Select Board Chairman John Flynn.
Selectmen are concerned over the additional traffic,”We get a lot of Connecticut traffic as it is and it’s going to multiply when the casino goes through,” says Selectman Vincent Villamaino.
Hampden officials say traffic will travel on route 83 through their town on the way to Springfield.
“We get a tremendous amount of traffic from Stafford and Somers, and Ellington that take that shortcut right through our town, and it leads directly into the South End,” says Villamaino.
Hampden selectmen hope for a surrounding community designation and an agreeable negotiated settlement with MGM.
“We want to be sure our costs, our impact costs are covered. We haven’t assessed the number, we haven’t come up with that. We certainly are willing to get into the discussion and look at it fairly,” says John Flynn.