On Springfield

Check Out—and Speak Out on—Casino Plans

The City Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee holds another meeting tonight to hear residents’ thoughts on whether all city residents should vote on a proposed casino plan or just those in the ward where the casino would be located. This one’s at the Frederick Harris School, at 58 Hartford Terrace, and begins at 6 p.m.

The public can check out the three proposals recently submitted by interested casino developers here, on the Springfield Redevelopment Authority website.

The committee’s already held meetings on the issue in two other neighborhoods, the South End and Sixteen Acres, where the prevailing sentiment seemed to be that a city-wide vote was the way to go. The meetings were scheduled to gauge residents’ opinions after Mayor Domenic Sarno and Ward 7 City Councilor Tim Allen put forth a proposal that the entire city vote on the proposed casino plan.

Meanwhile, Pete Goonan reports in today’s Republican that councilors continue to agitate to have a bigger role in selecting a casino developer, including having a councilor on the committee reviewing casino proposals. With Sarno—who, by the law, has the authority to negotiate with developers—now reviewing the proposals, councilors say they’re being unfairly left out of the process.

Next week, the Council will meet with the casino consultants hired by the city, and Allen, Goonan reports, is calling on his colleagues to put the consultants through their paces. “It’s a huge project,” Allen told the newspaper. “Unless we are aggressive, we will probably only hear things they want us to hear.”

© 2014 The Valley Advocate