SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Springfield is moving into the second phase of its casino search process, and city officials are hoping to bring one or more casino proposals to the voters by June.
Mayor Domenic Sarno, Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy, and City Solicitor Ed Pikula held a news conference at City Hall on Thursday to release details about Phase II of the city's search process.
Springfield will announce which casino or casinos will advance by January 25th. Under their timetable, they will enter into a host community agreement with one or more of the proposed casinos by April 26, and one or more of these proposals will be brought before the voters in June.
The names of the people to be on the advisory committee for the second phase of the process were also announced Thursday. Selected were retired judge Nancy Dusek-Gomez, businesswoman Kathleen Kane, Dr. Haskell O. Kennedy, Jr., the former Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity Programs for the Connecticut Department of Labor, Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy, and Joanna Morales-Harrison of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department.
Their job is not to make a recommendation to the mayor or pick a casino developer, it is at this point just to dig into the details of the three proposals. Mayor Domenic Sarno will have final say on which casino or casinos Springfield chooses.
22News asked him why they're not just sending all three to the state gaming commission. He told us that it is still a possibility.
"We want to focus on keeping the odds as high as possible for the city of Springfield," Sarno said.
22News spoke with spokespersons from all three casinos that hope to develop a Springfield site and asked if they would prefer the city to narrow down its choices, or let the state decide. A spokesperson for MGM, which is looking to build in the South End, said they have no preference.
A representative for Penn National, which is focusing on the North End, told 22News it is fine with whatever the city wants to do, which is having Springfield in control.
An Ameristar spokesperson said they are fine with whatever happens, but they don't see how sending all the proposals to the state could hurt.