HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - Paper City Development is reacting to the state gaming commission's decision to reject a request for an extension to file a casino application.
Paper City Development Managing Partner Joe Lashinger released this statement to 22News Thursday night:
"We respect the opinion of the MGC. Given our three years and seven-figure investment in Holyoke we owed this effort to our supporters. After Mayor Morse's initial rejection of a Hard Rock Paper City Development for Holyoke, we worked hard to find other sites in Western Massachusetts.
When Mayor Morse restarted the casino issue in Holyoke, even so late in the process last November, we had an obligation to return to Holyoke. We added to our proposal of the Wyckoff Country Club site, including the option of 17 acres in Downtown and an important co-development venture with the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club of their Mt. Tom site for an environmental recreational facility – an alliance that would preserve the HB&G's mission statement in the city.
We are sorry for the HB&G, and for those people in Holyoke that wanted this economic development. The people of Holyoke never had the opportunity to hear our plans at the Mayor's December 21st public presentation date as publicized. We feel badly for the people of Holyoke who want an opportunity to vote either for or against a casino proposal for their city. The Mayor as he stated in his letter today to the MGC is the sole voice on this despite the City Council's vote Tuesday to place the question on the ballot.
We sincerely wish the Mayor well in his decision to cultivate a different arts and cultural economy in Holyoke. Hopefully those efforts will result in the $20 - $22 million in tax revenue and $2000 dollars in residential property tax reduction for homeowners that our proposal would have brought to the city according to tax experts and Holyoke's Treasurer and City Assessor."
On Thursday, the commission considered, but denied, four requests for waivers including one from Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette, who had still hoped to lure a casino developer into the western Massachusetts city.
Eleven firms met the deadline and will now be subject to background checks by the commission.