Anti-casino group wants to slow down casino vote - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Anti-casino group wants to slow down casino vote

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

A Springfield anti-casino group and even some city councilors have expressed concern over a July vote on a Springfield casino.

Now that the city has drafted the host community agreement, Citizens Against Casino Gaming in Springfield is asking the City Council to slow down this process.

"We need more time to educate the voters and make sure that the determination is informed not forced," said Michael Kogut, of Citizens Against Casino Gaming.

Kogut sent an email to City Council President James Ferrera, asking that a planned July 16 vote on a casino referendum be pushed back to coincide with municipal elections in November.

"Yesterday we had a special United States Senate election where 9 percent of the Springfield residents came to vote. That's not right," Kogut said.

At a meeting Wednesday night, Ferrera said that he and the City Council need to slowly review the 70-plus page host community agreement.

It was signed Wednesday morning by MGM's president, but the council must sign off before it can be sent to the mayor.

"We need to make sure that this proposal that's been put forward is good for the residents and the business community of the city of Springfield," Ferrera said.

But the city's legal team and Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy say they need to hold onto momentum and have approval by the City Council by May 15.

"It's not moving too fast. We've been at this for 15 months, we've been briefing everybody, we've been putting everything up on the website, everything's been out there, we've had multiple hearings," Kennedy said.

But Kogut says he and his group plan on continuing to fight for a November vote.

"We're going to put this $800 million project in Springfield, and the first thing we're talking about is how to mitigate the damage to the community," he said.

The city councilors will meet again to discuss the contract on Monday.

Several of them said they would be comfortable approving it that night.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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