By Katy Rogers
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) hosted a public hearing regarding the Wynn Casino at the Boston Convention Center on Tuesday, March 29 – one of the final hearings involved in the state environmental review process.
The meeting detailed Draft 61 Findings for the Wynn Casino in Everett, which focused on the environmental impact of the resort, including the traffic ramifications that Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has recently voiced his concerns about.
In attendance were local elected officials from Everett, including Mayor Carlo DeMaria, State Rep. Joe McGonagle, Senator Sal DiDomenico, School Committee President Frank Parker, Councilor at Large Mike Mangan, and Councilor Mike McLaughlin.
All voiced their support for Wynn Boston Harbor in Everett.
Several members of Everett United, the grassroots campaign started by residents who were in favor of the casino since its proposal, attended in support, some of whom spoke to the board as well. Contrastingly, a handful of adamant Charlestown residents spoke in opposition of the casino for various reasons including traffic impacts, increased usage on a worn MBTA system, and the visibility of the glowing Wynn logo from their community.
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone was notably absent.
However, Fred Salvucci, a traffic analyst familiar with Somerville, spoke in objection due to concerns with Sullivan Square.
Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria was the first to speak, pointing out Wynn’s outstanding efforts in his plan to improve regional traffic by contributing to the MBTA and providing $25 million towards Sullivan Square improvements.
“Wynn Boston Harbor has committed to implementing tens of millions of dollars in regional traffic mitigation measures, these include not only major road improvements in Everett and surrounding cities, but a $7.4 million subsidy for the operation of the MBTA’s Orange Line train for increased service,” he said. “The first time ever a private developer has contributed operational funding to the MBTA.”
Other local elected officials agreed.
“The benefits from Wynn outweigh any obstacles that we will face,” State Rep. Joe McGonagle expressed to the MGC. “It is important to say that Wynn Boston Harbor will not only help Everett, but also it will aid the Commonwealth.”
Senator Sal DiDomenico also weighed in, “The fact that they are putting up millions of dollars, billions of dollars really, of their own private money, to fix longstanding problems that we have had in this community and this region for decades and solving longstanding issues in terms of Brownfield remediation, traffic remediation, infrastructure improvements, all with private dollars is nothing like we’ve seen from any other developer that’s come to our state in the past.”
He also stressed that it is rare to find a project that asks for no aid from the state.
Overall, there was an abundance of support in favor of the Wynn Boston Harbor project from the public, and the meeting was adjourned after all concerns were heard.