| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – Free parking may not be part of the MGM business plan in Springfield, especially if the company follows its initiative it launched in Las Vegas, NV, in January.
City Council President Michael Fenton said the council has not been supplied details on how or when there would be a parking fee in the MGM Springfield garage. The City Council is still undertaking its hearings and discussion about the site plan for the casino.
Fenton did confirm to Reminder Publications that originally the parking would be free.
“We don’t have any information specific to how parking will be run,” Fenton said.
The casino giant recently announced it would cease participating in an industry standard in Las Vegas in April and would charge for parking at its properties on the Strip, such as MGM Grand, The Bellagio, and Luxor, among others.
Howard Stutz, writing in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, said, “The reaction [to the announcement] was swift, visceral, volatile and poignant.”
Public opinion was so against paid parking a Change.org petition was started, Stutz wrote. The cost of the parking would be different at each casino.
To date, nearly 1,000 people have signed the petition. The petition read in part: “This is not good for locals who patronize these businesses and especially not good for visitors who drive in from Southern California or actually anyone who opts to rent a car when visiting Las Vegas, NV. This has huge financial repercussions and ramifications for the cost of a Las Vegas Vacation; figure easily spending an extra $30-plus per trip to Vegas just for parking alone, Then add more money for additional taxi/Uber/Lyft/bus/parking costs if you plan to visit more than one MGM casino during your visit here. This is not a well-thought-out business decision for the big picture of core people who love to hop in the car for a last-minute trip to fun and affordable Las Vegas.”
Foxwoods currently offers free parking, as does Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, according to the websites of the two casinos.
The designated MGM spokesperson was contacted twice for comment, but at press time, there has been none.
Fenton said the council is continuing its work on the site plan with a meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 17, with another meeting booked for Feb. 22. He said he expects the meeting on Feb. 17 to “go most of the night,” and added “based on the council’s comfort level” a vote on the site plan could be taken on Feb. 22.