SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – If you’ve taken a drive through downtown Springfield you can see the progress of MGM Springfield’s resort casino. As construction continues, the Springfield City Council held a hearing Monday night to authorize some of the signage for the casino.
“We will talk about size and dimension and so forth but this is something that has been anticipated and built into the zoning so I think MGM will have a presentation that the City Council will accept,” said Springfield City Councilor Kateri Walsh.
The main iconic signs for the MGM Springfield casino have already been approved.
On Monday, the City Council unanimously approved MGM’s plan to put an additional six signs on top of its seven-story parking garage. Under the plan, five illuminated signs would face the highway, while the sixth would face a different direction. MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said since the parking garage is visible from I-91, it could reach thousands of drivers every day, and potentially draw customers to the casino.
The signs wouldn’t all be used to promote MGM Springfield, at least one of the signs would promote other venues in the area, including the MassMutual Center. MGM Springfield is required to work with other venues in downtown Springfield, as part of its formal agreement with the city, and Gaming Commission.
MGM Springfield doesn’t have a permit for the signs just yet. They’ll first have to conduct a study that will look at the impact the signs could have on traffic flow and safety on I-91. MGM Springfield has already agreed to those conditions.
As of now, MGM said they’ve nearly completed the exterior of the seven-level parking garage. “Things are moving along down there so we are excited, hundreds of construction workers is what we’ve always talked about in terms of economic development,” said MGM Springfield CEO and President Michael Mathis.
This, while Connecticut now considers five casino proposals, after two new plans were announced Monday. Springfield City Councilor Ken Shea told 22News he’s not worried about the possible competition. “The type of casino MGM is is more of a destination casino. That is not what they are planning in Connecticut; they already have two of them so I think the impact will be greater on Connecticut than on MGM.”
The Mohegan-Mashantucket Pequot Casino Company started to consider site proposals last year, but reopened the application process in September. They announced on Monday that East Windsor and South Windsor recently submitted site applications. They’re now part of five cities being considered: East Windsor, South Windsor, East Hartford, Hartford, and Windsor Locks.
The Office of Fiscal Analysis in Connecticut has already said that MGM Springfield could cost them more than $68 million in 2019, because of MGM Springfield.
Mathis said they’re not worried about a third casino in Connecticut, and don’t plan on expanding the 14.5 acres of land that they are currently building on.
MGM Springfield is still on track to open in September of 2018.