mgm delay bad for mass, good for everyone else

Artist Rendering of MGM Springfield

Artist Rendering of MGM Springfield

Woe to Massachusetts – besides Plainridge Park, they won’t be seeing another casino in the state until the 2018.

MGM wants to delay the opening of its planned resort casino in western Massachusetts by a year because of a major highway project taking place nearby.
The Las Vegas casino giant Thursday submitted a revised project schedule Thursday to the state Gaming Commission that calls for construction to be completed in August 2018 and the casino to officially open Sept. 5, 2018, when the highway work is expected to be done.

imagesMGM held a ceremonial groundbreaking at the 14.5 acre site in March, but the project has been held up by state and city concerns about the impact to historic properties.
The only way right now thsat Massachusetts can stop its residents from going to Connecticut is by upgrading the highway, which is a main connector to nearby Hartford, Connecticut.

I can’t imagine this problem just popped up!  Knowledge had to have been known by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in choosing Springfield, so why all the surprise now? The highway project is expected to cause significant congestion, with a number of lane and ramp closures affecting traffic around the casino development. Other road restrictions could further compromise access for casino patrons, employees and vendors, casino officials said……Surprise!!!

“There are going to be a lot of unhappy folks when that construction starts,” Stephen Crosby, the commission chairman, said of the highway project. “You don’t want people driving up and down 91 thinking it’s the casino causing them to have those 20 minute delays.”

A random thought – would there be a delay and traffic problems if Palmer had been initially chosen?   Hmmm….just a thought…..


Showing Route I-91 from Hartfor, CT to Springfield, MA

I would imagine the decision is unnerving to the public’s point of view, because acceptance of the casino has come largely with the understanding that it would keep all of its promises.

At least MGM has agreed to pay Springfield an additional $1 million because of the delay, and up to this point, has worked with community and political leaders very well. This could be a one time bump in the road – but when that road leads down I-91 to CT, that speed bump will hopefully be the only one to a project the the city of Springfield so desperately needs to help economically.

That’s all for now.