WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - There's a new contender in the race for the sole casino license in Western Massachusetts.
The Big E will announce its plans to partner with Hard Rock Friday... on a casino project that would include a large concert venue, retail space and a traffic plan. But before anything happens at the fairgrounds, West Springfield residents would have to approve it.
If the Big E and Hard Rock have it their way, thousands of people will no longer be coming to Memorial Avenue just for the cream puffs.. they'll be coming to gamble, dine and shop at a state-of-the-art casino. But some West Springfield residents aren't so sure if the gaming license belongs on this side of the Connecticut River.
"I don't believe we should have a casino here in West Springfield. I don't think the traffic or the infrastructure can handle it. We've got Memorial Avenue here that is always in disrepair," said David Gervais of West Springfield.
Others think the Big E/Hard Rock announcement is simply coming too late in the game.
"I don't think they would do well at all. The big E is for families and Springfield is more of a downtown area for people who are looking to go to the bars or whatever. I don't think it'll work out," said Ivana Delossantos of West Springfield.
Springfield has dominated the casino competition so far. Time is running out before the application deadline, but some West Springfield residents think their town deserves a shot.
"I think the casino here would be an awesome addition for the economy. The jobs that would be created with Hard Rock being here and the casino itself. It'd be an awesome opportunity for businesses to get on board to," said Marc Olinski of West Springfield.
Several West Springfield property owners have already confirmed to 22News that the Big E contacted them about buying their land. We'll bring you the details of the announcement, including the detailed traffic plan, Friday on 22News at noon.