PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) - The Springfield casino site committee hopes to make a recommendation regarding the city or ward referendum vote, to the city council in the coming weeks.
But who's to say Springfield is getting a casino?
Mohegan Sun has been interested in Palmer long before Massachusetts even passed the gaming bill. Ultimately the state gaming commission will make the final decision of who gets the sole gaming license to be awarded in western Massachusetts. Springfield may have the most interested developers, but it's not the only community in this race.
Four major casino companies are competing to roll the dice in the city of Springfield. MGM has already put down the non-refundable $400,000 application fee. With plenty of interest and political pull, even some Palmer residents say Springfield will get the license.
"Since the tornado hit I think Springfield has been a good candidate. Well why not? You've got so many more votes there so many more people without work. It would probably be a better fit," said Palmer resident Robert Dupuis.
But plenty of other Palmer residents say they have something the city's contenders don't: a unique, rural destination spot that's ready to be built on right now.
"Palmer is very much in the race. We're really head and shoulders ahead of others. We're well into the host development agreement," said Jennifer Baruffaldi with Citizens for Jobs and Growth in Palmer.
"The bottom line the process is going to be done by the people at the end. They're going to vote yes or no so any one of these places can do whatever they want but the bottom line comes down to every voter getting out there and saying yes or no to the proposal," said Palmer town council president Phil Hebert.
Mohegan Sun is ready to react to whatever schedule the Gaming Commission decides, and residents are confident.
"We're contenders. We've never been out of the race so we're just going to keep fighting and moving forward," Baruffaldi added.
Palmer's town council toured Mohegan Sun this past weekend, and the town is actively working on their design plans-- from a traffic study to infrastructure.