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Towns considering proposals to study, oppose Milford casino plan

Posted by Tom Coakley  May 2, 2013 01:08 PM

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As Milford officials press for more details about the casino proposed in their town, selectmen in three neighboring communities are seeking funds to study the impact on their towns, and in at least one community, to campaign against it.

Holliston, and Medway have articles on their Town Meeting warrants that, if passed, would study the potential impact of a Milford casino.

In Medway, which holds its meeting May 13, residents will be asked to transfer $40,000 in unexpended legal funds from the current fiscal year to “to support the research, evaluation and investigation of potential casino impact on Medway, or to act in any manner relating thereto.”

Medway selectmen voted to recommend that the article be approved.

Holliston’s finance committee has recommendthat Town Meeting approve raising or transferring $100,000 for “conducting impact analyses relative to the proposed casino development.”Holliston’s meeting is May 6.

Meanwhile, an article at Hopkinton’s Town Meeting, held May 6, seeks an unspecified amount of money, that would either be raised through taxes or transferred from other funds, to pay for the town’s legal and consulting expenses “associated with its opposition to the siting of a casino in Milford.”

Hopkinton Selectmen unanimously voted to place the article on the warrant.

While the warrant article does not specify a dollar amount, according to Jamie Hellen, operations assistant to the town manager, a motion seeking its approval at the meeting will request $100,000.

Milford Town Administrator Richard A. Villani said he had no reaction to surrounding towns funding opposition to the casino.

“If they are designated as surround communities, they’re free to do what’s in the best interest in their communities,” he said.

Villani said that his town is “waiting for the developers to come back with full plans” that include impact studies on traffic, water, and schools.

“We’re talking a while here,” he said. “Getting the license–if we are even granted a license, is way off.”

Villani said the developers have rented space on Main Street so the public can speak with them about questions or concerns.

At an April 8 hearing, Milford Selectmen Chairman Brian W. Murray said he had seen no substantive effort to show firm details of the local resort casino proposal–first proposed in 2009–or to address the town’s concerns.

The $1 billion casino would consist of a gaming and hotel facility on about 210 acres of land at the intersection of Interstate 495 and Route 16. At the April 8 hearing, Foxwoods representatives said they anticipate the casino would be approximately 300,000 square feet, and include a gaming floor with 4,725 slot machines and 125 table games, a 350-room hotel, specialty restaurants, and entertainment.

Foxwoods Resort Casino became the primary developer, after Colorado developer David Nunes lost control of the venture in March.

The group Casino-Free Milford has started a petition for residents of residents of Milford, Hopkinton, Holliston, Upton, Bellingham, Hopedale, Millis, Ashland, Franklin, and Medway on the online petition platform Change.org

The petition, addressed to the governor, state Legislature, and state gaming commissioner, claims a casino would be “an assault on our quality of life,” and had gathered 2,000 electronic signatures as of March 31.

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