Agawam city councilors hope to pass anti-casino resolution - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Agawam city councilors hope to pass anti-casino resolution

The city may not have a chance to host a casino, but that is not stopping its city council from speaking out against one.

Several city councilors believe Agawam is not being treated fairly, as Hard Rock prepares for its referendum vote with West Springfield on Sept. 10.

The councilors told CBS 3 that it was not easy to come to this decision.

"We needed to see what the plan was and we needed to get some feedback from our constituents before taking a stance of either pro or against," said City Councilor Cecilia Calabrese.

The councilors, including Calabrese, plan to take action at their next meeting on Tuesday. They will introduce a resolution to oppose Hard Rock's planned $800 million casino resort.

"The Big E has always been a pretty good neighbor for Agawam, so we put up with it," said Calabrese. "But with the casino that they're planning, there's going to be traffic 24 [hours a day], 7 [days a week], 365 [days a year]."

"People come up Suffield street, down Main Street, they take shortcuts to get into the Big E," City Councilor Robert Magovern.  "I don't think Agawam is getting its fair share."

"You can't criticize what's not there yet," said Richard Theroux, chairman of Agawam's casino oversight committee.

He said city council has every right to do what they are doing, but he also believes they are not seeing the whole picture.

"We have to wait for the vote," Theroux stated. "If the vote is not successful, then what would we do with the agreement?"

The council is against part of Hard Rock's agreement with West Springfield, which calls for rotating payments to neighboring communities. Theroux said he will negotiate for more when the time is right.

"We are now negotiating with MGM because they have had their election [in Springfield]," said Theroux.  "We are working with them on an abutting agreement, because we know it's going to be a license that's going to be looked at by the commission."

Should the council's resolution pass, they plan on sending it to the gaming commission to make sure their feelings are heard.

CBS 3 reached out to Hard Rock for comment Friday afternoon, but we have not heard back.

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

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