Palmer set to sign host community agreement with Mohegan - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Palmer set to sign host community agreement with Mohegan

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It's a project that has been nearly 17 years in the making for Palmer and now the town is moving a step forward as a host community agreement with Mohegan Sun maybe signed in the next coming week.

It was standing room only in Palmer Monday night as residents gathered for a one-on-one meeting with Mohegan Sun officials.

One thing was on everyone's mind, the host community agreement.

Palmer Town Manager Charles Blanchard said residents can expect an agreement to be completed with in the next week.

"I think we've got a very good agreement. Certainly, there are some things still outstanding that we are in the process of negotiating," said Blanchard.

Mohegan Sun is proposing a billion-dollar destination casino to be located off the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Mohegan's two other competitors for the lone Western Mass casino license are MGM in Springfield and Hard Rock International in West Springfield.

They both have already finalized their host community agreements.

But supporters of a Palmer-based casino said they're not worried the town and Mohegan are just signing theirs now.

"Being a little bit late to the party helps us because it gives us an opportunity to see what other communities have had and what they've been offered. It gives us a chance to see what Palmer needs, would be getting and what Mohegan will be offering," said Robert Young of Palmer Businesses for Palmer Casinos.

"I'm hoping it goes through. I want it in Palmer," said Palmer resident John Toutant.

Residents said although they're happy to see an agreement finalized, they'll be keeping a close eye on what it outlines.

"I think we got an enormous amount of support in town, but the bottom line is what are we going to get from Mohegan Sun?" said Palmer resident Larry Jasak.

Mohegan officials are not releasing the details of the agreement just yet, but they assured residents it is a balanced one.

"I think it will be pretty fair. I think the people in Palmer will like it," said Project Coordinator of Mohegan Sun Massachusetts Peter Sholtz.

Town officials said once the Host Community Agreement is signed, residents can expect a referendum vote within 60 to 90 days.

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