The public will get a chance tomorrow [Tuesday] to hear and see plans by the two prospective gambling operators vying to develop a casino resort in Springfield. Penn National Gaming wants to build an $807 million casino on about 13 acres in the north end of the city’s downtown, while MGM Resorts would build its $800 million facility on about 10 acres in the south end of downtown. Kevin Kennedy, Springfield’s Chief Economic Development Officer, says Tuesday’s hearing at City Stage marks the first formal public presentation of the companies’ respective proposals.
“Each casino operator will have 45 minutes to present their proposal to the public. There will be a 10 minute break in-between and, following the second presentation, there will then be a 2-hour question and answer period where the public will get a chance to offer their opinions and ask some questions.”
Kennedy says the hearing will give the prospective developers a chance to fine-tune their proposals before they have to formally submit complete written details to City Hall early next month.
“The casino operators will not have their formal presentation due back to the city until January 3rd. So if they do hear something that they think the public wants or needs, they have an opportunity to incorporate into their plans.”
Kennedy says an ad hoc committee appointed by Mayor Domenic Sarno will then decide on January 25th whether one or both companies will get to negotiate a community host agreement with the city. And he says only after the State Gaming Commission completes its pre-qualification process will the issue go before Springfield voters. Tuesday’s hearing, which is being moderated by the city’s casino consultants, Shefsky and Froelich, is slated to begin at 5 pm.