In what could result in a major impact on Charlestown, Everett voters shocked most observers by approving the Wynn Resort casino proposal by a vote of 86 percent in favor to 14 percent against in a special election on Saturday. The rsort would be located at an old industrail site that is just past the Alford Street Bridge on the Everett side.
There were 6,157 votes cast in the election, and Everett is the first community in the Commonwealth to pass a casino referendum vote.
The huge margin has many in Everett saying its time to move full steam ahead, and Wynn Resorts indicated they would now focus their efforts in working closely with the Gaming Commission on the Phase 2 application process.
Wynn is pursuing one of three state gaming licenses to be awarded sometime early next year and has proposed a $1.2 billion, 550-room hotel and resort complex to be built at the 32-acre site of the former Monsanto chemical plant.
“The decision of the Massachusetts Legislature to require community approval of gaming developments was a wise one,” said Wynn CEO Steve Wynn. “It is rooted in the common sense notion that for any development to be meaningful, it must have robust support within the community. The voters of Everett have spoken clearly and decisively. The vote heightens our enthusiasm and dedication to this fine project. We thank the voters of Everett for their support and for making all of our efforts so easy.”
Presently, plans call for one of the new major access roads for the increased traffic going to the resort to come off of I-93 at the Sullivan Square ramp. Wynn has also been touting the easy accessibilty to downtown Boston with Rutherford Avenue being the primary usage route. In addition to conventional modes of transportation to reach the resort, Wynn is also proposing a new water ferry system that would link Logan Airport and the North End/South Boston waterfront areas with his resort.
Since the vote on Saturday, Wynn has said that he wants to meet with Mayor Thomas Menino . Menino has said that he has met with Wynn and sees no need to meet with him again.
Wynn is facing off primarily with a proposal by Suffolk Downs, which has been slowed down of late by host community agreement negotiations in Boston. The looming question for Charlestown residents is will the election that needs to be held in the fall that is similiar to the Everett election be open to the entire City of Boston electorate or as Mayor Menino has been advocating only having the voters in East Boston decide the casino proposal.
Several of the mayoral candiates have been advocating for a citywide vote on the Suffolk Downs casino proposal.