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Gaming Comm. Hears Western Mass. Surrounding Community Petitions

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BOSTON, Mass. (WGGB) — The Mass. Gaming Commission has heard from area community leaders as to why they believe they would feel an impact from a proposed casino in Springfield’s South End.

Officials from Longmeadow, Hampden, Northampton, the Eastern States Exposition, and the Majestic Theater will make presentations to the commission on why they should be considered a surrounding community or impacted live entertainment venue.

During the Phase II application process, companies looking to build a resort-style casino – including MGM Springfield – included a list of communities that they believe would feel an impact from their proposed project.

Northampton was first to present its case.

Northampton mayor David Narkewicz said a Springfield casino would hurt Northampton economically as a retail and dining destination by drawing people away from the city,”We don’t believe that MGM met its burden of presenting any evidence, clear, concrete evidence of what those benefits will actually be to Northampton and the rest of the Pioneer Valley,” says Narkewicz.

The town of Hampden said a casino would bring in additional traffic by people coming from Connecticut to visit the casino,”Our presentation was from the heart, we live in town, we grew up in town, we know what Hampden is like, we know what the traffic is like,” says Town Selectman John Lynch.

The third community to seek surrounding community status was Longmeadow which said traffic on route 5 would increase and negatively impact the town,” I feel we made a compelling case as surrounding community,” says Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane.

MGM told the gaming commission that none of the communities that went before the commission today would be significantly impacted in a negative way,” We understand the communities interest in trying to protect themselves but this is a very fact based criteria,”  says MGM’s V.P. for Global Gaming Development Mike Mathis.

The gaming commission is expected to rule on the surrounding community petitions by February 6th.

MGM Springfield also voluntarily entered into surrounding community agreements with Agawam, East Longmeadow, Chicopee, Ludlow, West Springfield, and Wilbraham.

 


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