Enfield residents voice concerns about a possible casino

The Enfield proposal is a way CT lawmakers want to compete against MGM Springfield

FILE (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

ENFIELD, CT (WWLP) – Tribal leaders are proposing a third Connecticut casino 15 minutes away from MGM Springfield. The Enfield proposal is a way Connecticut lawmakers want to compete against the upcoming MGM casino.

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have partnered and proposed Enfield as one of several possible locations for a 500-thousand square foot casino. Hundreds of residents filled JFK middle school to voice their concerns about a gaming facility in the Enfield Mall.

One resident said at Thursday night’s open community meting, “My neighbor said if a casino comes in, she’d be selling her house, and I’d be selling mine too.”

The Enfield Square Mall is just off I-91, 15 minutes from Bradley Int’l Airport, and minutes from MGM Springfield’s casino.

A casino in Enfield would bring about 10-12 thousand visitors every day, and would create about 2 thousand jobs. Many people told 22News they’re excited about this change, but most of them have said that they’re concerned. “We don’t need the additional traffic with over 10 thousand folks, and crime might go up,” said former Enfield town councilman Ed Poremba.

“It’s just going to bring in more riffraff,” said Enfield resident Carolyn Gernux. “They’re promising 2-thousand more jobs I heard on the news tonight, and I just don’t see it.”

Enfield Square Mall management pitched a preliminary concept that would replace the Macy’s men’s store and Sears with a 2-story casino, a parking deck, 6-story hotel, and entertainment venue.

“We don’t want to be MGM,” Enfield Mall general manager Marty Pelosi told 22News. “We don’t want to take over city blocks. We want to create an entertainment – dining, retail venue – that the community can embrace.”

VP of portfolio management Bob Steiner says “I would tell the people, in partnership, let’s work together and make this the best it can be. This can be very exciting I think and enhance and help downtown.”

Enfield Mall has not yet spoken with Tribal Leaders about these proposals. East Windsor an East Hartford are also being considered as locations to host the possible casino.

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