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Everett casino idea draws a laugh from Menino

Posted by Your Town  January 8, 2013 05:19 PM

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BOSTON, JAN. 8, 2013…..A vocal backer of a proposed Suffolk Downs casino, Boston Mayor Tom Menino cast some shade on a competing casino proposal, for a site in Everett, and intimated he might have a say in how the Everett proposal moves forward.

“The interesting part of it is I own part of the Everett piece,” Menino said referring to a chunk of Boston that extends across the Mystic River, bordering Everett. Menino followed that remark with a sarcastic laugh, saying, “Heh heh. Ha ha ha ha ha. Hahaah.

“And you know something? And to get into the piece, you have to go through my property. Aha. They never spoke to me,” Menino said. Asked about the Everett casino, Menino said, “Nobody’s ever talked to me about it. I only read the newspaper accounts. I haven’t met anybody who has represented the other folks, from Everett.”

After pro-casino candidates were roundly defeated in local Foxborough elections, casino magnate Steve Wynn dropped his plans for a casino tie-in with Gillette Stadium, and then resurfaced recently with plans to build a casino on a former Monsanto Chemical Company site on Chemical Lane, across the river from Somerville and Charlestown.

“Wynn Resorts has signed to an option for land in Everett to build a unique, luxury resort,” Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver told the News Service in a statement. “The company has no plans for development in Boston. We have had positive and constructive communication with Everett Mayor DeMaria and look forward to working with the Everett community.”

DeMaria did not respond to a request for comment. The process is still in its early stages in Everett. According to Boston assessor’s department records, a roughly 46,000 square foot commercial lot along Chemical Lane falls within Boston’s boundaries, along with other land along the banks of the Mystic.

Menino, meanwhile, has put his considerable political capital behind a proposal for Caesars Entertainment to develop a casino on the aging Suffolk Downs horse track, which straddles the border of East Boston and Revere.

Menino commented on the Everett proposal at his temporary Parkman House residence following a press conference about plans for Converse Inc. to relocate its headquarters to lease office space on a redeveloped Boston wharf.

Menino’s remarks were the second public criticism neighboring mayors have cast on Wynn’s Everett proposal. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has been outspoken in his opposition to any casino, and said he would fight to prevent a casino in Everett.

“We’re opposed. I’ve been opposed and my community’s been vehemently opposed to a casino whether it’s in our borders or a hundred yards away,” Curtatone told the News Service. Curtatone noted that it is a “highly congested area” and said, “We will do anything and everything to protect the quality of life in our community.”

The Somerville mayor has an equally negative view of a proposal for Suffolk Downs.

“My beliefs about casinos are what they are no matter where they are,” Curtatone said. “That’s been my position always.”

Under the 2011 gaming law, Massachusetts was divided into three regions, each of which could have one resort-style casino. Suffolk Downs and the Monsanto site are both in the same region. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s deadline for the application fee and first phase of submissions is Tuesday, Jan. 15.

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