Sound off on the Leominster casino proposal

Casino Facade 2Have something to say about the Leominster casino proposal? The Mass Gaming Commission is inviting public input in an open hearing to take place in Leominster tomorrow, Tuesday, December 3, from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. (longer if necessary) in Leominster’s City Hall. See full hearing notice here. This may be one of the last opportunities available to let the Gaming Commission know how you feel about having a casino potentially located just off Route 117 at the junction of 190 in Leominster. The Commission will soon be deciding which of three slot casino proposals will be awarded a single available license. The decision is expected within the next few weeks. The Leominster slots casino proposal is competing against proposals for casinos located in Plainville and Raynham for the license. Local support—or lack thereof—will play a role in the Commission’s decision.

Bolton recently rejected an “our offer or nothing” impact agreement put on the table by the Leominster casino developer, and instead sought a “surrounding community” designation directly from the Gaming Commission in order to strengthen its position in working a more favorable deal. Last week the Gaming Commission ruled in favor of Bolton’s petition (despite developer opposition), citing the “significant and adverse affect” of casino related traffic on Route 117. The Commission’s traffic consultant indicated that it was possible that “20% or more” of the casino traffic would use Route 117 in Bolton. The result (if the percentage of casino traffic using Route 117 is only 20%) would be potentially 500,000 additional vehicle trips  through town annually. The Board of Selectmen has 30 days to negotiate an impact agreement with the potential casino developer or face arbitration.

—Roland

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