SPRINGFIELD – With a view to streamline the gambling establishments, a master plan is on the cards of the city officials. The City Council’s Casino Site Committee, headed by the chairwoman Paula C. Meara and the President James J. Ferrera III would meet Tuesday at 5.00 p.m. at the City Hall in its chambers. The agenda of the scheduled conference would be creation of a unique casino district by making necessary changes in the existing zoning regulations.
Though nothing is certain about the location of the proposed district, yet the top executives of the council are of the view that they could follow a zoning plan on the pattern adopted by Sioux City, Iowa. The Casino Overlay District approved by Sioux City in August lays focus on the set of laws related to designs of the buildings in the central town and parking & other linked aspects. Moreover it is also aimed to check annihilation of the significant constructions within the 462-acre radius in the central part of the city. Replacement of the Missouri River riverboat casino with a land-based property is also in the pipeline.
Ferrera expressed that the proposed regulation of Springfield would also cover such rules that are prevalent in Sioux City in relation to development of casino properties. The aspirant developers would be facilitated with full knowledge about the amenities that would be made available to them through the casino zone, said the chairwoman. Appointed by Ferrera, the Casino Site Committee would forward its casino-related observations and suggestions to the bursting council. He informed that City Council’s consent is a must for any casino district.
The state law states that a maximum of three casino properties, including the one in Western Massachusetts are permitted. Till now there are four proposals from the aspirant operators who intend to set up casino properties in the city.
Hard Rock International plans to develop a casino property at some undeclared place in the central town of Springfield whereas Penn National wants to acquire a place in the North End along with the main building of the Republican, situated in the eastern sector. Ameristar wants to own the ex-Westinghouse site in the eastern part of the city. MGM Resorts International prefers the South End area of Springfield to go ahead with casino development. A casino could come up in Palmer too.
Ferrera has expressed that consent of the local as well as the state authorities is a must for development of any casino. He added that this is the time to start up the Springfield casino district plan that is going to be a mega project. The agenda of the Tuesday committee meeting would also cover discussions about suggestions of Timothy C. Allen, the councilor and Domenic J. Sarno, the Mayor who want a citywide poll instead of the ward vote system.
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