SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – “They’re not telling us much of anything.” For the past 7 years, Ken Elsner and his wife have owned O-Mi Oriental on Main Street in Springfield, but for the past 3-and-a-half years, their future downtown has been uncertain.
“It’s left us stuck in the state of limbo because you never could be sure if we’d be here for like a month, six months, whatever. And it’s tied our hands as far as planning what to do with the business,” Elsner told 22News.
Late last year, MGM Springfield began notifying businesses they would soon need to leave as the casino prepares 14 and a half acres of land in the City’s South End. Elsner hasn’t been notified yet, but many of his neighbors have.
Some businesses told 22News they’re looking forward to the casino. Tony’s Barbershop has been here on Main Street for decades. But as of February 14th, they have to move. And they found a place right across the street.
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“We’re not going to be too far away. Just a stone’s throw away. We’re looking forward to the future…We’re excited about the casino too. A little entertainment for Springfield. I guess it’s all good. The future should bring some good stuff,” said Ralph D’Arco, barber at Tony’s Barbershop.
People with parking permits in lots at 16-30 Bliss Street, 53-57 Bliss, 61 Bliss, 69-71 Bliss, South Side Bliss, North Side Howard and 73 State Street will have to find somewhere else to park as of March 1, 2015. MGM’s relocation consultant, Mollica, will be helping find them other spots downtown.
MGM Springfield plans on breaking ground sometime this spring. The resort and casino is expected to open in June 2017.