If community support is important to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, New Bedford is the best place for the last license. Unlike Brockton, there was no organized opposition to the ballot question in New Bedford for a proposed $650 million Foxwoods-managed resort casino for New Bedford’s waterfront.
SOUTHCOAST TODAY, however thinks “It would be a terrible mistake to assume the path to Whaling City prosperity is now guaranteed.” Well, let’s take a look.
The referendum passed Tuesday with 73 percent voting in favor of it – 73%! by the way, New Bedford voters had backed casinos by wide margins on two non-binding public policy questions in 2001 and 1993! So, no lack of support here.
The project would preserve parts of the brick power plant, including its towering smokestack, as well as create a public harborwalk and pedestrian connections to the former whaling capital’s historic downtown.
The project supposedly has the potential to create nearly 6,000 jobs for a metro area that has among the highest unemployment rates in the state, at about 6.3 percent.
Under a so-called “host community agreement” reached with New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell’s administration, KG Urban has agreed to pay the city $4.5 million in initial payments if it wins the casino license. The company would then pay the city at least $12.5 million annually once the casino opens, on top of paying real estate taxes and investing millions of dollars into public waterfront improvements and related environmental cleanup. Foxwoods, the Connecticut casino company run by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, has agreed to manage the operation.
This will be a difficult choice for the MGC. Both cities need jobs, economic help, and already deal with high crime and traffic, which is expected to increase with a casino in their town – both where the proposed casinos will be.
New Bedford’s members of its historic fishing industry have stepped firmly into the city’s casino debate. KG Urban Enterprises plans to redevelop a polluted former power plant sitting on the waterfront off of Route 18, which divides downtown New Bedford from the piers jammed with fishing boats in the harbor.
Brockton has issues with the casino very close to its own public high school,
as well as the eastside residential area and the traffic impact on both.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission could still choose not to issue the license at all…..which would be just fine if you ask Rhode Island.
The saga continues. Special thanks to Rhode Island Correspondent Miguel for his hard work and help. NETime Gambling salutes you!
That’s all for now.