Foxwoods and Milford Need to See Eye to Eye
Representatives of Foxwoods Massachusetts, which hopes to develop a resort casino on Route 16 at Interstate 495, told selectmen in Milford that the board’s demands for information were extensive, but the grilling would produce a better project. With updates and more expansive plans from other license hopefuls, Foxwoods needs to call the raised antes to stay in the game. I hope the people of Milford understand how much Foxwoods needs this additional new England location,
The developers attempted at the meeting to answer questions raised at public meetings on traffic, water and sewer impacts and to update the board on its application timeline. At the same time, the board reiterated requests for more clarity on traffic, town services and property values, in particular.
In response to concerns raised by the grass-roots group Casino-Free Milford about property values being hurt near the proposed casino, Sean Reardon, Foxwoods’ consultant from Tetra Tech, said the estimated 3,000 jobs at the casino would draw people to the area who would drive up demand for nearby housing.
Selectman Dino D. DeBartolomeis said exactly what I posted in previous posts: “The one I lose sleep over is the traffic. The trip generation, the signalization, I still can’t get my arms around it. I think that’s probably the most important determining factor.”
Mr. Butera said, “A 24-hour facility is a different animal,” attempting to explain how the additional vehicle trips generated by the casino would be less than what an office park or other use of the proposed resort site might be. He said casino traffic is spread out over the day and night. However, I don’t think Mr. Butera is telling the complete truth. Events traffic certainly coincides with rush traffic times, especially weekend nights as people leave after the event.
Foxwoods has talked with state and federal highway officials to plan an expansion of Interstate 495 between current exits at Route 85 and 109 to funnel traffic to a roundabout at the casino and onto Route 16. Despite developers’ assurances that the casino would buy more than $50 million in goods and services from local businesses, many Milford business owners are opposed to the proposal.
Bottom line is that traffic plans could essentially either allow patrons to visit local businesses or by-pass them – something that is a huge concern. “We need to support these business owners, who are in many instances are Milford residents,” Mr. Scandone said. “They are not carpetbaggers.”
Mr. Butera said those concerns were grounded in fear but that he expected the businesses would find they would thrive with a casino – not necessarily the type of vague and shallow reply expected by the Milford community.
But, Butera did assure them that Foxwoods Massachusetts would be locally managed and senior managers in the company are usually required to live in the area.
That’s all for now.