WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The upfront payment West Springfield will soon receive from MGM Springfield will help pay for improvements to Memorial Avenue, and West Springfield is just one of eight towns MGM owes upfront payments to.
MGM Springfield is now officially on track to open a resort casino in Springfield’s South End by the summer of 2017. MGM expects the traffic volume going in and out of the casino site will increase by 1,677 cars Friday evenings and 1,718 cars Saturday evenings.
However, some people aren’t concerned. Bella Feldman of Longmeadow said, “I don’t think there will be that many people going to gamble during the week, maybe weekends, and even then, still it’s not a problem.”
Once the casino opens its doors, State Street will play a key role. Casino guests getting to Springfield using Interstate 91 will turn on to State Street to access MGM’s hotel and retail area. Howard and Bliss Streets will be closed, but various parts of Union Street near East and West Columbus Avenue will be improved.
Across the river, MGM will pay West Springfield $665,000 to help address potential impacts on Memorial Ave., and an upfront payment of $850,000 will help Longmeadow address its traffic concerns. If these mitigation plans don’t work, all the surrounding community agreements offer a “lookback” opportunity.
Nick Cousino of Springfield said, “It should be brought to their attention and appropriate corrections be made. It’s in the best interest of both the community and the casino that it’s a positive experience that they bring the casino into the city, not something that people view as a negative experience.”