Hard Rock kicking off campaign for Sept. 10 vote - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Hard Rock kicking off campaign for Sept. 10 vote

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Hard Rock has kicked off a campaign to get voters on their side.

West Springfield residents will vote on Sept. 10 whether or not they support the company's $800 million casino plan for the Big E fairgrounds.

West Springfield residents packed into the auditorium at the middle school Wednesday night to hear more plans from Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen.

"Tonight really gives us our first chance to start the new campaign, phase two," he said.

The company wants to build a 38-acre casino complex on the Big E fairgrounds complete with a 12-story hotel, a Hard Rock Cafe and shopping and dining.

People looked at new renderings and were shown for the first time a 3-D model of Hard Rock's proposed resort casino.

Some came to the meeting with an open mind.

"It's a lot for the city, jobs hopefully, that's the best part. I'm just eager to hear what they have to say," said Joseph Pellegrino, of West Springfield.

Others already know how they'll vote on Sept. 10.

"We're just trying to get the whole story out there, we're trying to reach out to voters," said anti-casino organizer Nathan Bech.

A small group of casino opponents stood outside the school, handing out flyers to people as they walked in.

Bech is organizing the anti-casino efforts.

"It's going to bring more crime into our town, it's going to hurt local businesses, it's going to cause addiction and addiction leads to foreclosures," he said.

But Hard Rock's Allen says they'll be holding more meetings and going door to door to convince still undecided voters to approve their project in September.

"We think if we get the factual information to them, the horizon will be much brighter as they look at the great potential of growth, not just for hard rock but for the citizens of West Springfield."

Springfield voters have already approved MGM's South End casino proposal.

Palmer officials and Mohegan Sun are still working on negotiations and plan to vote either late September or early October.

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