Western Mass towns ask for more time with casino agreements - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Western Mass towns ask for more time with casino agreements

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Time is winding down for MGM Springfield to settle their agreements with surrounding Springfield towns.

On Monday, the town of Ludlow was the first to announce they struck a deal with MGM on a surrounding town agreement.

But what are the positions of the other possible seven towns?

Officials from three of those towns gathered at West Springfield Town Hall Thursday night to discuss where their communities stand with MGM.

"We are keeping the dialogue open with MGM. We certainly want to keep in good faith with them," said Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane.

Angela Thorpe is a member of the East Longmeadow Board of Selectmen. She said things are slowly, but surely moving along in her town's decision.

"We are going over the documents that MGM has submitted and we expect a decision rather shortly," said Thorpe.

West Springfield town councilor, Brian Griffin, said he'd like to see the town's mayor-elect, Ed Sullivan, get involved in their negotiations before anything is decided.

"He's going to have to enforce those agreements that are reached," said Griffin.

Surrounding towns will have 30 days to sign an agreement after MGM submits their application on Dec. 31.

Representatives who attended Thursday night's meeting, said they feel the process is being rushed and would like to hear more from MGM officials.

"The timeline has been extremely tight," said Thorpe.

"MGM, as far as I'm concerned, needs to step up and get out there and engage with all of us," said Griffin.

Tim Brennan of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has been examining the entire mitigation process for the eight surrounding communities.

He said he doesn't believe MGM is delaying on purpose, rather saying they are cautiously working out details with each of the communities.

"It's not so much, in my mind, withholding of any information. It's just having ample time to work the information and get the communities to a level of comfort," said Brennan.

Carole Brennan, MGM Springfield spokeswoman, released a statement to CBS 3 regarding the concerns these communities have.

The statement reads, "We are in discussions with both the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the leaders of our neighboring communities to provide an open, fair and transparent process to reach surrounding community agreements. We believe the process should be data driven to ensure that communities are protected against actual and proven adverse impacts, if any." 

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