Wynn officials detail casino site cleanup, mitigation

This architectural rendering released by Wynn Resorts shows a daytime view of a redesign of it's proposed Massachusetts in Everett, Mass., unveiled Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, at the state gaming commission meeting in Boston. Wynn Resorts was awarded a license in September 2015, and has proposed a $1.6 billion resort, casino, hotel and entertainment complex for roughly 33 acres on the Everett waterfront overlooking Boston. (AP Photo/Wynn Resorts)

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 22, 2016…..Representatives from Wynn Resorts on Tuesday detailed for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission the steps they have taken to clean up the site of their planned $1.7 billion resort casino in Everett, mitigate traffic congestion in the surrounding area and compensate neighboring towns for potential impacts from the casino.

Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Everett, said the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino project will be the “largest private development in the history of Massachusetts,” with 4,000 union jobs, 4,000 operational jobs, and $660 million per year generated in taxes, fees, wages, and operational costs.

Wynn has completed 20 environmental and traffic plans totaling more than 10,000 pages, he said, and those plans have been reviewed by three federal agencies, 12 state agencies, 14 municipalities and 20 local organizations over a the last three years, DeSalvio said.

Using only private money, Wynn is working on a $30 million environmental remediation of its land in Everett, expects to fund $266 million for roadway improvements, road infrastructure and traffic demand management, and expects to pay out nearly $1 billion in community and mitigation payments over 15 years, he said.

“When you think about the commitment on behalf of Wynn Resorts for a project of this nature, it really is nothing short of incredible. We feel like we have done the most in depth due diligence environmental filings that any project has ever gone through that we’ve ever heard of,” DeSalvio said. “For anyone that has any questions at all about our mitigation package and the effort that we put out, I think today’s presentation puts those arguments to bed.”

During its presentation to the commission, the group from Wynn touted the resort company’s work to clean up the site of its planned casino. Located along the Mystic River in Everett, the casino is slated to sit on the site of a former Monsanto chemical manufacturing facility and must first be rid of harmful toxins, like PCBs.

“One of the things we’re very proud of is the remediation. This was talked about for 30 years and now we’re almost done with phase one, which is the worst of it,” Chris Gordon, a Wynn consultant acting as project manager, said. “We’re within probably two or three weeks of having the site closed up from the remediation point of view.”

The Gaming Commission will hold a public hearing on March 29 to accept comments on its Section 61 findings — which describe the potential damage to the environment from the casino project and detail what steps have been or should be taken to avoid or minimize the damage.

The draft version of the commission’s findings determined “that all practicable and feasible means and measures have been taken to avoid or minimize potential damage to the environment from Wynn’s proposed category 1 gaming establishment.”

The public hearing will be held at 5 p.m. at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and the commission will accept written testimony until 4 p.m. on April 11.

Meanwhile, Somerville’s anti-casino Mayor Joseph Curtatone has appealed to the Department of Environmental Protection in connection with an environmental certificate needed for Wynn to build its gleaming hotel and gambling hall on the banks of the Mystic River.

Somerville argues the project’s 85-year waterfront development license exceeds the usual 30-year-term, the public amenities included are not on scale with the scope of the development and has questioned the negative health impacts of the project on the city’s border.

Because of the neighboring city’s appeal, Wynn has canceled job fairs and was required to freeze cleanup work on the site.

The city of Somerville and the international casino company are scheduled to participate in a hearing June 2 at which both sides will be allowed to call and cross-examine witnesses.

Copyright 2016 State House News Service

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