|By Carley Dangona|
CHICOPEE The City Council named seven members to its subcommittee on Resort Casinos and Gaming (CRCG) earlier this week. The council unanimously approved the creation of the CRCG on June 4.
Ward 6 Councilor Timothy McLellan will serve as CRCG chair and At-large Councilor Frank Laflamme will serve as vice-chair. The remaining members are Ward 3 Councilor John Vieau, Vice President Dino Brunetti, Ward 5 Councilor Frederick Krampits, Ward 2 Councilor Charles Swider and President George Moreau.
"I'm glad that we have formed this [subcommittee]," McLellan said. "It will give us more teeth [in establishing Chicopee's role as either a host or abutting community]."
The motion to create the CRCG stated, "This committee will conform to the Gaming Act of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and all city ordinances of the City of Chicopee either as a host community or a surrounding community neighbor."
At-large Councilor James Tillotson said, "We're interested in making sure Chicopee is protected."
Moreau told Reminder Publications that the next step of the CRCG is to obtain a copy of the Gaming Act and guidelines of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and to gain a detailed understanding of the regulations to define its role in the process.
He added that at this time the city had not reached out to either Springfield or West Springfield, both of which are contenders in the race for a casino, to discuss the implications of being an abutter if the MGC awards the contract to either community.
"We don't know what's going to happen," Moreau said. "Our goal is to be prepared whether we are a host or an abutter."
In a statement last week, Penn National Gaming announced that it is no longer interested in establishing a casino in Western Massachusetts. At this time, no other applicants have expressed interest in the city.
Mayor Michael Bissonnette told Reminder Publications there is still interest in the city from several other developers.
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