If a casino does come to Springfield—and the enthusiasm of casino backers notwithstanding, it is still a matter of if—what does the community want from the company?
That’s the question on the table at two upcoming meetings. This evening, at 5 p.m., the City Council’s casino site committee will meet at City Hall to solicit ideas for conditions to be written into any agreement the city enters with a casino developer. And tomorrow, a group of community organizations are holding a public meeting on the same topic, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Gerena School. “NOW is the time to make casino developers guarantee that they will bring community benefits like good jobs, affordable housing, education, and transportation!” organizers say.
Of course, the big casino news of the moment: Mayor Domenic Sarno is due to announce today whether he’ll begin negotiations with one, or both, of the casino companies looking to come to the city, MGM and Penn National—or, as Peter Goonan reports here, decide to take some more time to review the proposals.
UPDATE: Well, never mind; Sarno has annnounced that he’s postponing his decision on casino developers until Feb. 11. A statement from the mayor’s office explains that the extension reflects the fact that the deadline for developers to submit their proposals had also been extended, from mid-December to early January. The new deadline will give city officials more time to evaluate those proposals.