Last Wednesday evening, City Councilor Sal LaMattina testified at the Casino Commission hearing and expressed his frustration over the whole process and feels Charlestown and Boston proper should be considered a Host Community and allowed to vote on the casino proposal in Everett.
“My purpose here today is simple,” LaMattina testified. “I demand that my constituents in Charlestown be allowed to vote on the proposed Wynn casino development in Everett. Mayor Walsh has requested that the City of Boston be recognized as a host community and I support him on that. The people of Charlestown deserve it and they should be given a voice, especially if Boston land is used for the establishment. In fact, it could be argued that Charlestown will endure greater impacts than most of Everett.”
LaMattina said he has received no cooperation from the Wynn team pertaining to their mitigation plans.
“No information at all as to how they will combat traffic, noise, air pollution and safety,” said LaMattina. “ The proposed site is just feet away from Charlestown. They should be able to decide whether they want to deal with the 70 percent of traffic that will flow through Sullivan Square, or the contaminants that pose a serious hazard -especially to the many children who use the Ryan Playground right next door to the site- while the harbor is cleaned up during construction.”
LaMattina went on to say that neither he nor the Charlestown community has been given any insight as to how Wynn plans on cleaning the site.
“Unlike Suffolk Downs, who has shown a willingness to be transparent with the City of Boston throughout this entire process, Wynn has been downright dismissive, disorganized and uncooperative,” he said.
LaMattina argued that one reason Boston should be considered a host community and the residents of Charlestown should be allowed to vote is Wynn’s use of marketing the casino as a Boston-based development.
“Boston is the hub of not only the state but the entire New England region. Within the past week or so, there has been a lot of talk of Wynn establishing marketing deals with the TD Garden and other Boston venues,” he said. “To any tourist who plans on visiting the City, a Boston casino would be an attractive draw. That reason alone should be enough to warrant us a host community status. We are not comparable to any of the other cities or towns that have been deemed surrounding communities. We will bear the brunt of any impacts from both casinos, so we deserve a chance to allow our voices to be heard. The residents have been more than patient with the Wynn representatives, but enough is enough.”
Following a meeting the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC) submitted a letter of opposition to the Gaming Commission regarding the Wynn/Everett casino project.
The letter cited traffic, environmental, and public health concerns for their reasons for opposing the project.
“Charlestown will be impacted by both the construction and operation of the Wynn casino as much if not more than the host city, Everett, yet the developers have not acknowledged or addressed our concerns,” the letter concludes. “Many in our community who were originally in support of the casino have reconsidered their position. Charlestown is a vibrant, largely residential, family-oriented and densely populated neighborhood of about 16,000 residents. We have a long and active history and are dedicated to maintaining the advances we have made in recent years improving infrastructure, reducing pollution, and creating a livable community. Discussions with Wynn are, at the very least, incomplete. Construction impacts have been ignored. Potential mitigation plans are non-existent. Road widening and traffic light adjustments are not the answer to the progressively degrading quality of life produced by the construction and operation of this casino.”