Walsh Needs to Be Reasonable about Casino Mitigation Package

There are new twists and turns almost on a daily basis concerning the casino proposals at Mohegan Sun in Revere and Wynn Resorts in Everett.

Two new developments we have been  following are:

• Boston is still considered a surrounding community for both proposals, but Boston officials might be able to change that status in the coming weeks to a host community. In a letter to the editor in the East Boston and Charlestown newspapers that appeared this week, Mayor Martin Walsh has vowed to continue to seek every avenue in making Boston classified as a host community.

• The second development is that nine communities Monday petitioned to be considered as surrounding communities and are seeking a share of the mitigation monies.  Included in this list for the Mohegan Sun are Boston, Cambridge, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Saugus  and Somerville.

Boston, Chelsea and Winthrop have been approved as surrounding communities by Mohegan Sun. Chelsea and Winthrop have assented to this designation. In our opinion, Melrose, Malden, Medford, Somerville, Saugus and Cambridge  seem to be a stretch for surrounding community status.  But time will tell.

As the clock ticks toward the May awarding date for the casino license, Boston still has the best case for a larger mitigation package.  Mohegan Sun officials have proposed to spend tens of millions of dollars on roadway repairs that will postively help traffic for all the surrounding communities around Revere.

Walsh is seeking the same compensation from Mohegan Sun that Menino obtained from Caesar’s when the project was to be built entirely in East Boston. Walsh’s mitigation proposal will not fly — but give him credit for trying.

A much lesser amount seems to be in order.  Could that amount be in the range of $5 million to $15 million?

The proposal that will probably be approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is the one that really takes care of not only the host community, but the surrounding communities.  The Gaming Commission will be probably looking at not only monies but also infrastructure repairs for roads in surrounding communities leading to these casinos.  Again Boston should qualify for more aid than one might think at first.

We would like to say to Boston officials, “Keep your hands off our project.” But in this day and age that would probably doom the project, because Boston will be impacted by it.

We urge Mayor Walsh  to give a serious look at how to reasonably mitigate an adverse impact to Boston residents.

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