Local mayors respond to Holyoke casino proposal - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Local mayors respond to Holyoke casino proposal

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A proposal to put a resort casino on a 70-acre site on Holyoke's Mountain Park off Route 141 outraged some anti-casino protesters at a press conference Monday morning.

"We feel very, very betrayed. We were very influential in electing him, and he knows that and he recognized that, and he ran on that position," said John Epstein, Holyoke resident.

But more than just residents are concerned - local mayors are as well.

Just a few hundred yards from the location lies Easthampton. Mayor Michael Tautznik says that a casino on already congested Route 141 would surely affect his city.

In a statement to CBS 3 he says, "This kind of came out of nowhere... The detail is what's important. I'm concerned about social and moral issues but with the right developer it doesn't have to be a bad thing."

Tautznik told CBS 3 that traffic is his main concern and he wants any developer to have a firm solution in place.

He has scheduled a meeting with local business owner and the person making the proposal, Eric Suher, to take a look at the plans.

But his concerns are not the only ones.

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz sent a statement to CBS 3 saying, "I view any casino development in our region as a serious potential threat to the social and economic vitality of Northampton... I have serious concerns about a resort casino located six miles from the heart of downtown Northampton and will work with other surrounding communities to protect our interests and the interests of the region should any casino proposal be advanced in Holyoke."

Mayor Alex Morse told CBS 3 that he is still opposed to casinos, but no matter where one does eventually get built, the entire region will deal with the repercussions.

"There's going to be a casino in our backyard no matter what. So we're getting a casino backyard, how do we protect the interests of the city while also working to get some of the economic benefit here in the city of Holyoke?" he said after his Monday press conference.

Any interested developers must apply and send a $400,000 fee to the state gaming commission by Jan. 15.

If this proposal advances it would face off against MGM, Penn National and Ameristar in Springfield as well as the Mohegan Sun proposal in Palmer.

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