SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Since MGM Springfield opened, it has provided funds to several towns in western Massachusetts as part of their surrounding community agreements.
It was payday for some local towns Tuesday. The first annual payment was made to eight surrounding communities totaling $1.8 million. According to MGM representatives, several factors are considered when deciding how much money each town will receive.
The amount given is based on the town size, proximity to the casino and overall impact. West Springfield received the most from the agreement while Holyoke received the least. Agawam received $200,000 in their first annual payment, money they intend to spend on improving the town’s infrastructure.
“The infrastructure is really an issue with all communities. Roads, sidewalks, sewer water all different issues,” Agawam Mayor William Sapelli said. “We get a lot of traffic from Connecticut and a lot of them don’t want to go on I-91 so they come up through Agawam on 159 or Route 75 so we get a lot of traffic coming through due to the fact that the casino is here.”
The money was given to alleviate any burden the casino had on the area.
According to MGM Springfield Vice President and Legal Counsel Seth Stratton, there was less of a negative impact than originally anticipated by surrounding communities.
“Municipal officials were rightly concerned they were looking out for the interest of their communities,” Stratton said. “The difference now is that we know what the impact is. That’s the difference the fears of the unknown versus what actually happened and that changes the dialogue in a positive way.”
MGM is currently undergoing a lookback study to make sure there is no unanticipated impact that isn’t already covered by that payment.
List of payments made to MGM Springfield’s neighboring towns:
- Agawam: $200,000
- Chicopee: $200,000
- East Longmeadow: $175,000
- Holyoke: $115,000
- Longmeadow: $281,875
- Ludlow: $175,000
- West Springfield: $475,000
- Wilbraham: $175,000