MGM’s plans to build a casino in Springfield took another step forward yesterday as the gaming commission gave a green light to hold an operating license Next up for MGM is to negotiate agreements with surrounding towns. While many communities have already reached deals, Longmeadow continues to hold out.
The Massachusetts casino law calls for gambling operators to help cover the costs incurred to neighboring towns–such as road improvements and traffic mitigation. In the latest back and forth MGM rejected Longmeadow’s proposal which would have called for nearly a million dollars in up front payments to the town– a number that is several times more than what other Springfield-area communities have agreed to. Alan Feldman is an Executive Vice President with MGM.
“Our read of the law is different than what Longmeadow is looking at. We believe that these surrounding community agreements are intended to mitigate any actual impact. Longmeadow is treating this as a chance to negotiate with us for some arbitrary number.”, Feldman says.
But the town’s manager Stephen Crane says the town stands by its proposal.
“The town of Longmeadow has made a counterproposal we believe best meets the interest of the town residents and protects us from knowable and predictable impacts of the casino.”, Crane says.
If a deal can’t be worked out, the two sides would go to arbitration–something both Feldman and Crane say they would like to avoid.