Spfld. Mayor supports MGM casino opening a year later

Sarno says there's too much on the line to risk overlap with I-91 viaduct construction

MGM banner outside the former Zanetti school anticipating a 2017 opening- MGM is now requesting that opening get pushed back to 2018.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Drivers have long been anticipating how the I-91 viaduct reconstruction would impact their lives. And now MGM Springfield, the region’s biggest economic development project, is also reevaluating how they’ll be impacted. Gaming regulators approved their request to open in the fall of 2018.

The delay pushes the project back an entire year from when MGM had originally planned to open. And it’ll cost the state an estimated $125 million in gambling revenue. But Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22news there’s too much on the line not to do this the right way.

“You want to make sure you have a fantastic and smooth opening. When they have to book conventions and seminars and world class entertainment they have to guarantee they’re going to have that space ready to go at that point in time,” Sarno said.

South End demolition will continue, and building the garage remains a priority. Still, many who live and work in the area wish both projects could hurry up.

“The I-91 problems have been existing for years. This isn’t something that just came up. I feel it should’ve been planned out a little better,” said Oleg Topic, who works in downtown Springfield.

MGM Spokesperson Carole Brennan told 22News today the rest of the summer will be dedicated to finalizing city and state permits, and in the fall the bid will go out for the garage. As for the viaduct construction, everything is overnight for now. You’ll begin to see daytime closures in early 2016.

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