Residents Rally Against Wynn Casino

Jen Herlihy and her daughter, Marin, participate in the rally opposing the construction of a casino in Everett.

Jen Herlihy and her daughter, Marin, participate in the rally opposing the construction of a casino in Everett.

Charlestown residents held a rally Monday night in Sullivan Square to state their opposition to the Wynn Resort hotel/casino that would be built on the site of former Monsanto site in Everett.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is set to vote Friday on the issuance of the Greater Boston casino license. Wynn Resorts is competing with Mohegan Sun who would build a casino on the site of Suffolk Downs in Revere.

A group of approximately 60 residents of all ages held signs in the square during the evening rush hour. In addition to affirming its opposition to the casino, the group also urged passing motorists to “Vote Yes” for the repeal of the casino law in the Nov. 4 election.

Jen Herlihy, a parent and Boston public schools ambassador who has lived in Charlestown since 2002, said
“for multiple reasons” she was against a casino in Everett.

“My biggest problem is the way the statute allows Everett to derive all the benefit with none of the downside that will be borne by Charlestown – with absolutely no say, no host community agreement, and no surrounding community agreement. I can understand why Everett voted for it. It’s the money but there will be infrastructure improvements. They’re going to get the cleanup and repair of the Monsanto facility and it betters their city without the negative implication of the traffic.”

Herlihy said traffic congestion is a major concern for Charlestown residents.

“We already have increased traffic for Assembly Square and now we’re adding a totally different layer of traffic and we’re not ready for it,” said Herlihy.

She said she was not impressed by Wynn’s plan for $6 million in traffic improvements for the area.

“Millions of dollars won’t make a dent [in the traffic],” said Herlihy. “I’ve seen the plan. Sixty-six percent of the traffic is coming through Charlestown. His wider lane is not going to solve the problem. If Wynn thinks it’s such a good idea and we would be so pleased with it, why didn’t he allow us to have host community status? Why did the MGC take away our surrounding community status?”

Herlihy sais she will intently watching the MGC meeting when a decision is made about the Greater Boston casino license.

“I’ve been live streaming the meetings,” said Herlihy.

Ivey St John, another group leader, also expressed her strong opposition to the casino.

“We have worked to make Wynn accountable to Charlestown and we have failed to do so,” said St John. “I now must oppose Wynn [receiving the casino license].

Asked whether she was closely following the MGC’s upcoming vote for the gaming license, St. John replied, “I would say that we’re more than closely following the MGC.”

St John also said the expected increase in traffic in Charlestown is an issue.

“I don’t believe that Wynn has presented an honest, straightforward, and forthcoming proposal and I think whatever he is planning is going to do serious damage to the traffic, the public safety, and the air quality in Charlestown,” said St John.

Roy Avellaneda, a defeated candidate in Tuesday’s election for state representative, participated in the rally. According to organizers of the rally, State Rep. Dan Ryan (who was victorious in Tuesday’s election), State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, and City Councilor Sal LaMattina were contacted about the rally but did not participate.

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