West Springfield town councilors voted unanimously Tuesday night for a Sept. 10 date for the casino vote.
"Hard Rock is ecstatic right now," said President of Hard Rock New England, Tim Maland.
It's the vote Hard Rock New England has been hoping for since they wrapped up negotiations with the city two weeks ago.
"We're very grateful for the city council for deciding that yes in fact Sept. 10 is the date for us to try and go out and win a vote for the residents of West Springfield," Maland said.
The vote will be held just three days before the Big E starts.
"Hard Rock wanted to have it before the fair because if it's a positive vote it give them a chance to go out and get that message to the people of West Springfield during the fair," said Mayor Gregory Neffinger.
The plans for the casino fall in councilor Angus Rushlow's ward. He says it was an easy choice.
"It will be a stepping off point for West Springfield to reestablish itself economically."
But not everyone was pleased with Tuesday night's quick vote.
"I thought it was giving away the house to the Hard Rock," said long-time West Springfield resident, Al Cabot.
Cabot wanted more discussion before the decision was made.
"I don't know any casino owners who gamble, I don't see any reason why one would want to encourage my children or neighbors to gamble."
But Hard Rock's Tim Maland says they'll use these upcoming weeks before the vote to reach out to people like Cabot who oppose the project.
"We've come to an agreement with the city, these are the benefits to the residents and now it's time to explain those benefits in as best a manner as we can."
Hard Rock is facing off against MGM in Springfield and Mohegan Sun in Palmer for the sole Western Mass casino license.
Springfield voters have already voted on and approved of MGM's project.
Palmer and Mohegan Sun say they are wrapping up host community negotiations.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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