By Carley Dangona
WEST SPRINGFIELD – The town will now enter into arbitration with MGM Springfield since the two failed to negotiate a surrounding community agreement by March 19, the deadline set forth by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).
The MGC is not responsible for appointing the legal mediators. West Side and MGM must now choose a panel of arbitrators for the issue. If they don’t happen to choose a coinciding attorney, then each will select its own and then, jointly, pick the third member of the panel. Once the process begins, the two have 20 days to reach an agreement.
“We had a series of meetings,” Mayor Edward Sullivan said. “We had good discussions. When it came down to the deadline, we had to agree to disagree on the impacts and costs associated with them.”
Carole Brennan, MGM spokesperson, said, “We have had a series of meetings with both Longmeadow and West Springfield. With six surrounding community agreements signed, we were hopeful that we could finalize the remaining two within the allotted timeframe.”
She continued, “Despite the best efforts of all parties, we have not been able to reach that point. The [Massachusetts] Gaming Law is a well thought out piece of legislation that planned for such a situation. We now look forward to an arbiter’s resolution, so we can move on in the licensing process.”
Sullivan said, “That’ll be resolved this week [the selection of the arbitrators]. From there our last best offers, in the form of a surrounding community agreement, will be submitted this week.”