Springfield Chamber of Commerce has casino concerns - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield Chamber of Commerce has casino concerns

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With a project the size of what both MGM and Penn National casinos are proposing for the city, there are many potential opportunities.

The Springfield Chamber of Commerce and its members want local businesses to remain in the forefront.

For over six decades, Frigo's on William Street has provided food to the Springfield community. With MGM proposing an $800 million casino resort in the store's backyard, owner Joe Frigo has struck a tentative agreement to work with the casino.

"The tourism that it is going to bring through there, it is definitely going to brand our name better," said Frigo.

Frigo's story is one that pleases the chamber. The group put out a position paper Thursday, urging the city to keep local business involved with the casino process.

While they still support a potential casino in the city, they have issues they want addressed.

"The chamber wants to play a role in bringing small businesses together," said Jeffrey Ciuffreda, executive director of the chamber. "So perhaps a percentage of what is needed can be provided by a consortium of small businesses."

In the letter, the chamber also encourages the employment of local unemployed and under-employed residents, including ones enrolled in casino-specific classes at local colleges.

"Do I think Springfield will be able fill every single position? Probably not," Ciuffreda stated. "It is a massive economic development project."

No matter how they get their foot in the door, being a part of the project is something Frigo believes all local business owners should support.

"Whether they are cleaning up the sidewalks, re-landscaping our entryways into the city, freshening up the buildings, it is huge," said Frigo. "We should be doing anything in our power to roll out the red carpet for these people to make it happen."

The chamber told CBS 3 the biggest issue for them is that their concerns need to be a part of the host city agreement.

As the deal is negotiated, that would be the only way they would have anything in writing.

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