Next month Longmeadow residents will have the opportunity to vote on a resolution that would urge the state's gaming commission not to accept Springfield or West Springfield's casino proposals.
This comes after a group of concerned residents passed in a petition at Longmeadow Town Hall Thursday afternoon with more than 150 signatures. The petition enables residents to be able to discuss and vote on the issue at an upcoming meeting.
"We believe that there is a silent majority of people in surrounding communities who are opposed to a casino. So, we're here today to voice our opposition," said Longmeadow resident Michelle Steger.
Steger was the one to deliver the anti-casino petition.
"We're hoping our actions today will kind of inspire people in other communities to speak out," said Steger.
"It's a chance for the voters at town meetings, for their voice to be heard," said Longmeadow Select Board Member Alex Grant. "The gaming commission has said that the enthusiasm or the lack of enthusiasm by surrounding communities will be a factor in their decision."
Grant is a member of the No Casino Springfield Group.
"I'm against a casino because I think it's going to be bad for Longmeadow. It's going to be bad for other towns as well," said Grant.
And even though the petition did include dozens of residents who don't want a casino in either neighboring community, others in town say they have no problem with the idea.
"I'm OK with that," said resident Mike Pacholski. "As long as they control it and they have to control it - the police department"
Springfield voters have already approved MGM's proposal and West Springfield voters will head to the polls next week to vote on Hard Rock's proposal. Also in the running for the sole casino license in this region is Mohegan Sun in Palmer- residents in that community will vote in early November.
Longmeadow's Town Hall meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5.
We received the following statement from Hard Rock on the matter:
"Hard Rock continues to welcome feedback, ideas and concerns. Within the next few years, a casino will be coming to Massachusetts and we believe Hard Rock offers the most dynamic and unique destination resort environment at a location with a long history of quality entertainment, community involvement and safety. We'd be happy to meet with leaders and stakeholders in Longmeadow and listen to their considerations, as we have with other regional communities."
An MGM Springfield Spokesperson had this to say about the vote:
"The MGM Springfield team has been on the ground in
Western Massachusetts discussing our proposal, and addressing any
concerns. We are proud to have earned the support of Springfield, and
will continue to look at ways to partner with neighboring communities."
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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