What Would a Casino Mean for the South End?

There’s a week to go until Mayor Domenic Sarno is expected to announce which of the city’s two prospective casino developers he’ll negotiate a host agreement with. (Or, he could opt to negotiate with both. Or neither—ha, ha.)

As we await the big announcement, Springfield Intruder blogger (and South End resident) Bill Dusty offers this detailed analysis of what MGM’s proposal, regarded by many as the frontrunner, would mean for that neighborhood. A wisely skeptical Dusty considers the effect of a casino on various businesses and other institutions in the South End, speculating, for instance, that Frigo’s would survive (from his lips to God’s ears) and wondering, worryingly, about the fate of Red Rose Pizza, which sits smack in the plot where the casino would go.

The loss of Red Rose would, in a word, stink—although, on a encouraging note, MGM clearly recognizes the value Springfield residents place on its favorite South End businesses; in its proposal, the company promises a “ dynamic entertainment district” that would include new features, such as a bowling alley and a movie theater, as well as “landmark local institutions such as Frigo’s, Red Rose Pizzeria, La Fiorentina and Langone’s Florist.”

Here’s another local landmark whose future I worry about: Bliss Street, immortalized in Dr. Seuss’ And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. “But now what worries me is this/Mulberry Street runs into Bliss/Unless there’s something I can fix up/There’ll be an awful traffic mix-up!” Seuss wrote. Never mind that Mulberry and Bliss don’t actually intersect (now that would be an awful traffic mix-up); the street’s a part of local lore—and, in the casino plan, it would be consumed by the development.

Dusty also raises an eyebrow at former City Councilor Raipher Pellegrino’s plans to build a hamburger joint at the old Visitor’s Center, adjacent to the casino site. Pellegrino’s development company paid a ton for the property—double what the next highest bidder offered—and has yet to do much work there, Dusty reports. “Could it be that they have had other plans for this site all along, depending on the outcome of the casino issue in Springfield?” he wonders.

Author: On Springfield

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