Did you catch the pretty pro-casino story in today’s Boston Globe?
Pretty pro-Springfield casino, that is.
“Springfield betting on MGM for downtown turnaround” reads the headline of the article, by Mark Arsenault. The piece starts with a predictable, although not unfair, bit of scene-setting color—the ghost-town vibe in downtown Springfield on a typical weeknight—before noting the fervent hope of city leaders that MGM’s proposed South End casino will change all that. Arsenault includes a rather aspirational-sounding quote from Mayor Domenic Sarno that the project, which has yet to win approval from the state, has already had a positive effect on the city’s “psyche.” It also includes a comment from Evan Plotkin, of Plotkin & Associates realty firm, reporting that the prospect of a casino had already helped juice up interest in downtown apartment buildings by prospective buyers.
For the requisite voice of descent, the Globe went Archbishop (and anti-casino leader) Timothy Baymon, who said, “History proves many of the restaurants and other businesses suffer as a result of a casino coming into a city. I do, however, believe [MGM] is spending an enormous amount of time and money trying to convince the city of Springfield and those in power that this is the best revitalization plan for the city.”
MGM is also eager to convince the media of that; Michael Mathis, president of MGM Springfield, told the Globe that—unlike other urban casinos, which have had little positive effect on their surrounding neighborhoods—his company’s project would be a “truly inside-out integrated casino resort” well connected to the rest of downtown.