The City Council unanimously approved a motion by Ward 3 Councilor Darren Costa that would require Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s Office to form a Community Action Board and to develop a Community Benefits Agreement as part of a revised or new Host Agreement with Encore Boston Harbor and any other large-scale development in Everett’s new zoning districts.
With Encore Boston Harbor seeking to build an entertainment venue across the street from the five-star resort/casino, coupled with the highly successful launch of the WynnBET Sportsbook (which drew large crowds to Encore on Super Bowl Sunday), Costa wants to talk with Encore officials about the Host Agreement. Costa is also requesting the presence of Mayor DeMaria at an upcoming Council meeting to discuss the impacts of new development near the resort.
“My hope is that Encore officials open up the original Host Agreement in good faith and renegotiate in totality,” said Costa.
According to Costa, the City receives approximately $25 million annually from Encore, with an automatic 2.5 percent increase in the payment to the city each year.
Costa noted some of the benefits of having Encore in the city, including Encore being a huge employer of Everett residents at the casino.
“But are we covered in terms of affordable housing for people to stay in Everett?” questioned Costa. “So, I feel, with the resort’s proposed expansion, the Host Agreement should be more robust and there should be a community benefit aspect to it. I’m for the expansion, and I think it’s important, but I think it’s also important that we are entrusted with getting everything that Everett deserves. An economic benefit to our residents is important.”
Costa said he would like to see a public park built on the land near the proposed entertainment venue.
“I’d like to see art space or theater space – public outdoor space that doesn’t cost me anything to occupy,” said Costa. “The waterfront behind Encore is nice, but it’s not easily accessible. But as we open up the other side of Broadway, it’s a better opportunity to create something that’s a more open to people – an area where you can walk or bicycle from different neighborhoods.”
Costa said he is “basically asking Encore to renegotiate the original Host Agreement in good faith to better align with the larger-scale operation of the resort.”
“I believe that the [WynnBET] Sportsbook impacts the community in a different way than gaming tables and slot machines do,” said Costa. “I want to make sure we put our community first in terms of how the resort’s expansion and the new Sportsbook impact the people of Everett.”