Northampton reacts to not getting surrounding community status

Artist's rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino, including the now-abandoned plan for a 25-story glass tower on State Street. The elimination of the glass tower is part of what the city council has to vote on.
Artist's rendering of the proposed MGM Springfield casino, including the now-abandoned plan for a 25-story glass tower on State Street. The elimination of the glass tower is part of what the city council has to vote on.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Northampton will not be getting any money from MGM. 22News is working to tell you if people are upset about that.

It depends on who you talk to. Many city officials certainly though that a casino in Springfield would affect them negatively, but others told us a casino wouldn’t detract from anything that Northampton has to offer.

Northampton is called “The Paradise City”, known for its vibrant downtown, shops, restaurants and diverse culture. It’s 19 miles from Springfield. In January, the city filed a petition with the state gaming commission to be designated as a surrounding community under MGM’s casino proposal, thus getting money and benefits.

The state gaming commission unanimously rejected the petition. Mayor David Narkewicz told 22News the commission faulted the city for not also studying the potential positive effects of a casino.

Rosalie Peri of Haydenville told 22News, ”I think it’ll affect Northampton. I think Northampton will just have to amp up it’s advertising efforts so people are still aware of what we’ve had to offer that’s special and unique to this area.”

“Unfortunately, I think it tend to encourage people who can’t afford to lose what they’ve got, but who have high-hopes of getting more than they’ve got,” said Ruth Hawkins of Northampton.

Northampton cannot appeal the decision. They’re impact study claimed that Northampton would lose $8.8 million dollars from a Springfield casino.

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