SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – More than $10.2 million in Community Mitigation Fund grants were approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) that will be awarded to several cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

In western Massachusetts, a total of $5,745,800 in grants will be awarded to projects in Hampden, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Springfield, West Springfield, and Wilbraham. The funds, which were established by the gaming law, offer aid to local communities to help offset costs related to MGM Springfield’s casino operation.

Grants will be awarded to the following western Massachusetts projects:

Community Planning

  • Holyoke: $200,000 – Tourism funding to develop local resources and identify ways to offset regional investment lost to competition with Springfield.
  • Holyoke: $200,000 – Funding for the development of a Wayfinding program in multiple languages.

Gambling Harm Reduction

  • Springfield: $19,600 – Study to engage youth 18-24 in identifying problem gaming issues that need further investigation.

Public Safety

  • Hampden Police: $15,300 – Funding of special 4-hour traffic enforcement shifts and purchase of two pole radar units and a handheld radar unit.
  • Longmeadow Police: $192,400 – Speed Alert radar message signs with data management system.
  • Ludlow Police: $31,800 – Trainings including Anti Bias/De-escalation.
  • Springfield Fire: $19,800 – Purchase of Defibrillator Units for the apparatus that responds to the Casino area.
  • Springfield Police: $135,200 – Funding for Overtime costs in the amount of $50,000; sexual assault training $12,000; interlocking steel barricades $4,800; a Metro Division drone and training $8,800.
  • Springfield: $191,200 – A problem gambling focused Community Health Worker; Research funding related to casino gambling and OUIs; Program consulting fees to Massachusetts Council on gaming; costs for associated program implementation and advertisement.
  • West Springfield Fire & Police: $200,000 – Additional funding for Police, Fire and EMS.
  • Wilbraham Fire & Police: $42,800 – Update of 10 Police vehicle radios, 5 fire vehicle radios and one police portable radio.

Projects of Regional Significance

  • Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC): $485,600 – Funding for the development of a Regional Business Ecosystem Network $360,000; data collection and gap analysis of small-and micro-businesses; development of a regional equity working group; direct outreach efforts to BIPOC and in underserved communities, and administrative costs $125,000.

Specific Impact

  • Hampden DA: $75,000 – Continued funding for DA personnel to handle casino-related prosecutions.
  • Hampden County Sheriff: $400,000 – Lease Assistance for the Western Massachusetts Recovery and Wellness Center.

Transportation Planning

  • Hampden: $203,100 – Funding for the design of a sidewalk on Main Street.
  • Holyoke: $82,300 – Fund the initial design of Main Street Complete Streets Reconstruction Project for inclusion in the State’s TIP.
  • Springfield: $250,000 – Funding for the design of traffic control improvements for the Union Street and Maple Street Intersection.

Transportation Construction

  • Springfield: $966,700 – Funding for the reconstruction of Dwight Street from Worthington to State Street.
  • Springfield: $1,500,000 – The Central Mixed-Use Parking Infrastructure Project seeks to solve for area parking deficiencies, improve traffic flow, and assist new economic development in the MGM Springfield and MassMutual area.

Workforce Development

  • Holyoke Community College: $350,000 – WorkReady 2023 is a collaborative effort of HCC, STCC, and SPS to provide ESOL Training, Job Readiness training, Occupational Skills Training, Digital Literacy Training, Career Counseling and Support Services.
  • Springfield Technical Community College: $185,000 – WorkReady 2023 is a collaborative effort of HCC, STCC, and SPS to provide ESOL Training, Job Readiness training, Occupational Skills Training, Digital Literacy Training, Career Counseling and Support Services.

Since 2015, the MGC has awarded approximately $47.9 million in grants through the Community Mitigation Fund.

“The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is proud to continue to support our local communities through the Community Mitigation Fund program as they seek to advance needs in road safety, public safety training and personnel, job readiness programming, and tourism marketing,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein.  

“We congratulate the 2023 grant recipients and eagerly await the implementation of these innovative and tangible initiatives, which help strengthen Massachusetts communities and uphold the Commonwealth’s commitment to maximizing the benefits of the state’s gaming industries while mitigating any unintended impacts that may be associated.”  

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