Some upset over “surrounding community” decision

HAMPDEN, Mass. (WWLP) – The Mass. Gaming Commission Tuesday rejected petitions from Northampton and Hampden to be designated as surrounding communities to the proposed resort casino in Springfield.

In rejecting Northampton’s request the commission said the potential benefit of increased tourism would outweigh any losses.

The panel also said “no” to the town of Hampden. Some Hampden residents told 22News they’re not getting a fair shake because their town’s so small, and they don’t have a very loud voice.

“Its disappointing when you come from a small town like Hampden, because obviously, like every little town, a little bit of income helps,” said Fran Netherwood of Hampden. “We do get our share of traffic from Connecticut. We do it now. I’m sure it’ll be a little bit worse after the casino goes in.”

There’s also some concern in town about their roads deteriorating faster because of the expected increased in traffic.

However, right next door to Hampden, Longmeadow was granted surrounding community status, and not everyone in that town’s thrilled by the prospect..

Elizabeth Daley of Longmeadow told 22News, “I’m of the feeling that any surrounding community has a right to ask that their communities be protected when something like this comes to town in a major metropolitan area so I do think they’re in the right to want that.”

MGM has already agreed to surrounding community agreements with Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Wilbraham and Holyoke.

MGM has also designated West Springfield as a surrounding community, but they have not yet reached an agreement.