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Town awaits results of PVPC study on casino effects


June 13, 2013
By Chris Maza

chrism@thereminder.com

EAST LONGMEADOW — The town of East Longmeadow is among those awaiting data regarding the impact that a casino in downtown Springfield would have on the town.

While some communities, such as Wilbraham, have opted to form their own committees to determine potential effects of the proposed development that would exceed $800 million, Board of Selectman Chair Paul Federici said East Longmeadow was among the towns that decided to let the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) identify issues that could arise.

"It was something that was discussed at a recent Regional Board of Selectmen meeting," Federici said. "Instead of each community appointing a person or a committee to deal with MGM and any potential problems, we decided to go through the PVPC, who has experience with this kind of work."

In May, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced that MGM Springfield had won the community host agreement over Penn National Gaming. MGM's proposed resort casino would be located in the city's South End neighborhood, in close proximity to Route 83, which runs south from Springfield to East Longmeadow, through the rotary, and into Connecticut.

Federici explained that once the PVPC has concluded its study, it would provide each community with a complete breakdown listing areas of impact and how they should be addressed.

"The biggest thing is we want to protect our own interests," he said. "If issues are identified, we would be entitled to monetary relief."

Federici identified increased traffic along that corridor as one potential impact on East Longmeadow.

"I mentioned at a prior meeting that many times people heading to Mohegan Sun will head into Connecticut by going down 83, so what's to stop people from going the other way and come up from Connecticut and into Springfield," he said.

Federici also said there was the potential for residential growth in town. Referencing MGM's assertion that the resort casino would create 3,000 permanent new jobs, he said, "People are also going to need places to live."

George Kingston, the town's PVPC liaison, said he is not aware of a timetable for the completion of the study, but more information might be available after the committee's June 13 meeting.

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