Local Officials React to Wynn Receiving Casino License

September 20, 2014
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Charlestown residents and elected officials are reacting to the Mass Gaming Commissioners decision to award the Boston-area gaming license to Wynn Everett on Tuesday.

Since the plan was first proposed several years ago, Charlestown residents have had serious concerns regarding a casino in Everett’s impacts on traffic and the quality of life here–especially in Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue. Many residents in Charlestown have long felt Wynn has not properly addressed the traffic concerns here.

Mayor Martin Walsh in a statement has again called Wynn’s traffic mitigations “unacceptable”.

“The city is evaluating the gambling commission’s decision, and all of the conditions imposed on the issuance of this license,” said Walsh in the statement. “Serious questions remain around Sullivan Square and Rutherford Ave, and other impacts in Charlestown, as well as other neighborhoods in the City of Boston. Everything is on the table at this point, and we have never closed the door to engaging in discussions with Wynn.”

Representative Dan Ryan said he had watched the Gaming Commission’s latest deliberations closely on Tuesday.

“I am carefully reviewing what has transpired in the past few days to ensure that Charlestown and Chelsea are given the necessary protections from such a development,” said Ryan. “I still have some questions and concerns regarding a viable traffic plan, the MEPA process and other required mitigation. I hope these concerns can be answered swiftly and thoroughly. I assume with a November repeal vote looming the winning applicant will be more than willing to put their best foot forward as this process enters the next phase.”

City Councilor Sal LaMattina added that he wants, “the people of Charlestown to know that I intend to scrutinize every measure taken by Wynn to address the traffic concerns in Sullivan Square. You didn’t have the opportunity to vote and makes your voices heard, so I will also go to bat for you to make sure that Wynn acts in good faith to provide a substantial, generous and lucrative mitigation package to offset any effects that will be caused by this development, traffic and otherwise.”

Charlestown Neighborhood Council Chairman Tom Cunha said he was disappointed in the MGC’s decision to award the license to Wynn.

“I’m very disappointed because I feel there were a lot of concerns and issues that fell on deaf ears,” said Cunha. “I will now spend my efforts to get a repeal group going in Charlestown. There are a lot of residents that feel Charlestown did not have a proper seat at the negotiating table throughout the process. The Neighborhood Council and a lot of organizations let the commissioners know the impacts a casino would have in Charlestown and while it may take 3 to 4 years we all have concerns on the impacts to property values and the way we move around our community. It makes me very nervous.”

Cunha added that if a repeal effort was unsuccessful he wants to see a real effort on behalf of Wynn to reach out to the community and listen to its ideas on how to best mitigate traffic and other quality of life issues like site cleanup.