CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - We've known for a while three developers are eyeing Springfield. Now there's a new player, Mountain Park's owner in Holyoke. But for Chicopee's mayor, the more important issue is how the Pioneer Valley - as a region - will deal with having a resort casino basically in our backyard.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said in a news conference Monday, "I think the Mountain Park plan provides us with the framework of what a good plan would look like."
His change of heart on casinos shocked many voters in Holyoke.
Whether it's Holyoke or Springfield that gets the license, for Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette, the bigger question is, how a western Mass. casino will affect the quality of life in nearby cities and towns.
Mayor Bissonnette told 22News "Revenue that will come from property taxes, gaming revenues, meals taxes and hotel taxes. There's a lot of money that can potentially be put on the table here for western Massachusetts."
Many western Massachusetts residents told 22News they want to know how the casino traffic will affect their daily commute. They say what they don't want is the traffic volume we see on I-91, the Mass Pike or Route 5 during the Big E and the annual Great New England Air Show.
Many people are also curious what kind of jobs a casino will bring.
Steven Link of West Springfield told 22News "You have to consider the fine print. Who are they going to hire? How many people are they going to hire? Are they going to be local? How long will they keep those people locally?"
Lydia Gallant of West Springfield said "Are they all minimum wage jobs? Maybe we need real jobs because people will need to work two, three, four jobs to make the money that they used to make. We really need good jobs."
Mayor Bissonnette said if a developer is interested in Chicopee and is willing to pay the $400,000 application fee, he would definitely consider bringing a casino to Chicopee.