SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is doling out a new round of grant money, more than $4-million statewide.
“It’s a whole different feel down here,” said Sara Moriarty.
Moriarty works in downtown Springfield and said two years ago, the downtown area had a different vibe.
“The biggest difference is to just kind of drive down and see people walking to get lunch,” said Moriarty. “And to see people checking out the scene in the winter there – the outdoor ice skating.”
While most would agree the new casino helped to fix up Springfield’s downtown district, some worried about unintended consequences. That’s where the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Community Mitigation Fund comes in.
Its goal is to help entities offset costs related to the construction and operations of gaming establishments like MGM.
“I’ve seen some police walking the streets,” Moriarty told 22News. “I’ve seen some canine officers. That’s a new addition to the streets down here so I think that that’s always helpful.”
In this new round of grants totally $4.1 million statewide, the Springfield Police Department received $228,457.68.
The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department is getting $400,000.00, the Hampden DA’s Office, $100,000.00. Eva DeJesus has lived in Springfield for more than 25 years. She told 22News she thinks Mitigation Fund money is working.
“It looks like I’m not even in Springfield,” said DeJesus. “It looks like I have gone on vacation to someplace else.”
The cities of Chicopee and Northampton also received grant money and so did Holyoke Community College. Since 2015, the MGC has awarded approximately $16 million in grants from the Community Mitigation Fund.