Springfield residents got the chance to talk about health impacts a potential casino could have on the city.
The Western Mass Casino Health Impact Assessment is made up of community leaders, healthcare professionals and local stakeholders in the casino process.
They host public forums to hear from the public about their top concerns.
"We really want community input into what people think or feel or are concerned about in terms of a casino," said Dr. Frank Robinson, executive director of Partners for a Healthier Community
Robinson met with several residents Monday night about the health impacts a potential casino in Springfield could have.
"Health determinants, things that cause health, economics and employment for instance," Robinson said.
Top concerns range from gambling addiction to pollution.
"What effect will that have on the air quality in Springfield? That's mainly what I'm concerned about," said Michaelann Bewsee, of Springfield.
But in a city of more than 150,000 people, some residents worry about the low attendance at events like these.
There were only a small handful of residents among the committee members Monday night.
"Many people think it's a done deal," Bewsee said.
But Robinson says the impacts listed out by residents will be made into reports that could impact how a casino could be built here in Western Mass.
"We hope it will inform local officials as they do host agreements, it will inform the citizens as they do referendums, it will inform the gaming commission as they look at licenses," Robinson said.
And it's not all bad. The assessment also takes into account the positives a casino could have on a community.
"They assume that a casino coming in would improve their tax value which might increase local revenues, which might increase public services, which would then increase one's health," Robinson said.
The health assessment has already been done in Palmer and plans are developing to have one in West Springfield as well at a date to be determined.
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