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Medford mayor says he opposes Everett casino

Posted by Jarret Bencks  June 13, 2013 01:13 PM

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Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn opposes the proposed Wynn casino in neighboring Everett, and is focusing on getting mitigation for the project should it be approved, he said Thursday.

"I am opposed to the site in Everett," he said Thursday. "I think it would cause tremendous heartache ... but we would be crazy if we ignored the possibility of mitigation."

McGlynn said he has been in preliminary discussions with ML Strategies -- a consultant group hired by Wynn Resorts -- on possible mitigation options.

State laws calls for casino developers to negotiate mitigation with neighboring communities. If no mitigation agreement is reached, the Gaming Commission will submit the community and developer to binding arbitration.

"We have to act as if it's going to happen, and we have to work toward ways to mitigate that," McGlynn said.

The consultant group hired by Wynn is a subsidiary of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, a law firm that features a stable of former Massachusetts political titans, including former governor Bill Weld.

The focus of mitigation in Medford is on infrastructure at Wellington Circle, an intersection on Route 16 located about 1 mile from the proposed casino location at the former Monsanto chemical site in Everett.

McGlynn said the intersection already experiences frequent traffic jams, and those problems would be exacerbated by the influx of vehicles heading to a casino. But the consultant group has been reluctant to address it because traffic there is a pre-existing problem, McGlynn said.

Along with the traffic concerns, McGlynn said he would focus on addressing public safety, as well as bringing a couple of possible amenities to the city.

He's asked that any major shows booked at the casino also host concerts at Medford's Chevalier Theatre, and he's also asked for Medford to be included in any plans to bring water transportation along the Mystic River. Bringing a water taxi to Medford from Boston has long been a goal for McGlynn.

A public hearing on mitigation for the proposed casino is slated for Tuesday night at City Hall in Medford.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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