MGM was awarded a license in 2014 to build a casino resort in Springfield, Massachusetts near the border of Connecticut. A ceremonial groundbreaking has already taken place as of March with an original opening set for later in 2017. Now the casino conglomerate is asking for a delay citing the I-91 highway project that will be complete by mid-2018. On Thursday, June 25, 2015, MGM submitted their proposal for delaying the opening MGM Springfield. The request stated the company will pay out certain financial commitments in the Fall of 2017. The hope is if the commitments are still met, those who will vote on the proposal for delay will accept the terms.
The highway project is going to create lane and ramp closures near the casino development. It will cause congestion during the project. Road restrictions will also affect casino guests, vendors, and employees.
According to the regulations an extension can be granted for strikes, acts of god, acts of public enemy; a failure or delay from the city, commonwealth or government authority; impacts of major modes of transportation, temporary restraining order, or concealed or unknown ground or structure conditions. It means the highway project can be considered an “impact to major modes of transportation to the project site.”
A concern of MGM’s is the traffic the highway project will create. Not only is it possible for vendors to find road restrictions with deliveries, but neighborhood residents may associate the traffic with the casino and not the highway project. It would cast a shadow on the casino.
Anytime a new casino is built the effect on traffic and noise is researched; therefore, MGM wants to ensure they are not the cause or associated cause with increased traffic in the area.
MGM promises to pay out the “community impact fee” which is a one-time payment of $2.5 million. The payment must be made by May 2017. They also intend on paying the “community development grant.” The grant is $2.5 million per year, which is supposed to start July 1, 2018.
The delay in opening could bode well for a Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun operated casino in neighboring Connecticut. On June 22nd, CT Governor Daniel P Malloy signed a bill into law that will allow the tribes to create a new casino on non-tribal land in hopes of competing with the MGM project.