MGM, Historical Commission close in on agreement

BOSTON (WWLP) – Before MGM can continue knocking down buildings, it needs to reach an agreement with the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

The two sides met Tuesday in Boston and 22News was there.

MGM Springfield representatives met with the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Historical Commission as well as members of the Springfield Historical Commission.

MGM can’t move forward with its construction until it gets the Massachusetts Historical Commission to sign off on its project since eight historical properties are in its footprint.

More than two months after the Massachusetts Historical Commission provided MGM Springfield with a list of recommendations, MGM finally responded with its counter proposal at a meeting in Boston.

MGM said it cannot save the annex of the old Armory Building. Will move and position the old French Church to face Union Street and will provide $350,000 into a Historic Preservation Trust, less than the $1.4 Million requested.  The money put into the trust would be used to help rehab Springfield’s historic and vacant buildings in a five mile radius of the casino.

Two members of the Springfield Historical Commission were there to make sure the language in the agreement backs up what MGM has promised.

“I think it went well, we’re moving towards a memorandum of agreement which is the ultimate goal here”, said Springfield Historical Commission Chairman Ralph Slate.  He continues, “We’re all going to sign off on this project and make sure that what has been promised is written down in the contract form and signed.”

There are a few more steps that need to be finalized, but the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s Executive Director said during the meeting that this would be their final meeting with MGM. Once this agreement is finalized, MGM can move forward with their construction.

“At that point we’d be able to continue with the permitting process complete the permits and begin demolishing structures”, said MGM Springfield Vice President of Construction Brian Packer.

An agreement could be reached before the end of July. Once that happens MGM will be able to begin knocking down some of the historical buildings in their footprint.

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