Next step for MGM: Finish surrounding community deals - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Next step for MGM: Finish surrounding community deals

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LONGMEADOW, MA (WSHM) -

MGM has passed a major hurdle in the gaming process after getting cleared by the gaming commission, but they're still in the process of negotiating with two towns that border Springfield.

Longmeadow and MGM have been negotiating for weeks now with no success yet.

The casino company says the town is asking for far too much money, while the town says they're holding off for the best offer.

Longmeadow officials are asking for nearly a million dollars, a number the casino company says goes far beyond what they're wanting to pay.

Town Manager Stephen Crane says the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission study obtained by CBS 3 points out why his town is seeking so much.

"These will be predictable, knowable traffic impacts to the town and it has some pretty clear recommendations about the right way to approach these impacts."

The report, done by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission at the request of MGM, is what most of the surrounding communities have been using to negotiate with the casino company.

The report says Longmeadow traffic will be impacted in two major ways - traffic traveling along Route 5 and traffic using Route 5 as an alternative to delays on Interstate 91.

The study says in part, "At a minimum MGM should prepare a detailed traffic simulation model ... to demonstrate the additional impact MGM traffic has on the longstanding regional bottlenecks in this area."

Crane says figures like that are why his town is seeking $950,000 in up front payments.

"That is based on what we know to be our ongoing monitoring costs as well as some enhancement of our current municipal services."

MGM has until Dec. 31 to submit their final application. If they don't add Longmeadow to their list of surrounding communities, the town can go through a petition process to try and reach an agreement.

"While there is a risk in not settling now we believe that we are protected by the data that has been generated in large part by MGM, but also by the process that has set forth by the commission," Crane said. 

In a letter addressed to Longmeadow officials, MGM Vice President Mike Mathis said in part, "We were hoping to avoid any of our abutting communities from having to prove (or fail to prove, as we think the case will be) their surrounding community status in front of the gaming commission."

The only other community that has yet to reach a surrounding community deal with MGM is West Springfield.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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