Springfield takes next steps by establishing Casino Liaison Offi - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield takes next steps by establishing Casino Liaison Office

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The City of Springfield officially announced the establishment of the Casino Liaison Office on Tuesday.

In a release obtained by CBS 3, it was noted the Casino Liaison Office will act similar to a local permitting ombudsman to help coordinate and expedite local permitting of the development.

Officials say in order to meet the requirements of the Gaming Act found under Section 96 of Chapter 194 of the Acts of 2011, a host community (Springfield) is required to take action to help coordinate and expedite local permitting of a gaming facility.

According to Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, the office will be overseen by Kevin Kennedy, the City's Chief Development Officer and will be staffed by Al Chwalek, retired Director of the Department of Public Works and by Attorney James M. Hannifan.

"Due to the size and complexity of this multi-million dollar project, it is imperative that the City provide a direct point of contact as we move forward with the realization of this tremendous economic development project for the City of Springfield," said Mayor Sarno. "Both Al and Jim have direct knowledge of the development process and will be instrumental in making sure that when issues arise they can be dealt with directly and in a timely manner to ensure this project stays on track".

Officials say the role of the office is to work with MGM Springfield and their construction management team to resolve the myriad of issues likely to occur during the construction period and would help streamline City permitting.

The Casino Liaison Office will be in existence for a short time covering the period of construction and the first year of operation with an expected span of 3.25 years.

"As we did during the casino review process, the City wants to ensure that we have a transparent and open process and that we also have the most qualified people to help guide one of the largest development projects in the City's history," Kevin Kennedy said.

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