Springfield’s South End district has been struggling over the past 10 years. Businesses are starting to close and the area is very run down. Although the South End district has seen better days, the town of Springfield has started a rehabilitation project that includes fixing roofs, Windows, landscaping, and many other things as a way to try and rebuild the neighborhood. There is a lot of work that has to be done so it is still a work in progress but Springfield’s south end is on the rise for the future.
One of the biggest things that is going to bring life back to the districts is the recently approves MGM grand casino that is currently in the process of being built. A few years ago the idea of getting a casino in the western mass area was proposed. It eventually came down to either Palmer or Springfield. Springfield won of course, and the casino will be fully functional by 2017. Some people argue that this will help the south end district and hopefully pull is out of the dark recession it is in right now.
The MGM will bring in a lot of cash flow to the area, but I think it will end up causing more issues than it will good, in regards to traffic, crime, drug related issues, and other problems. The state gamming commission approved the casino this past year, and the wheels are in motion to get the casino up by 2017. Now MGM is requesting to delay the opening of the casino to 2018, which would make the state lose nearly $125 million in gambling revenues. That’s a lot of money in terms of additional revenue that the state would make.
The reason for the delay according to Michael Mathis, president and chief operating officer of MGM Springfield is they want rehabilitate the interstate 91 viaduct. When you look at this in the terms of economics, there is an opportunity cost here. MGM could open the casino in 2017 and make the $125 million in gambling revenue, which is just an estimate or the can delay the casino opening and fix the highway. By fixing the highway they will reduce the amount of traffic that the casino will create and cause less stress for the locals.
If they decide to open the casino early then they are risking many traffic issues and upsetting the potential gamblers will not be the best way to earn revenue. I-91 is a critical part of MGM’s according to Mathis; there are over 100,000 cars that pass through Springfield’s casino site on a daily basis and if the highway is not set up correctly then there will be traffic jams that cause a lot of problems. In my opinion, waiting the extra year would be the smartest thing to do financially for the casino but more importantly for the city of Springfield.
The less traffic that is caused by the casino, the happier the locals would be and the more efficient the casino would be getting consumers in and out. With that being said I am still against the idea of having the casino in Springfield due to the fact that I live in the town over. The MGM casino coming into Springfield will not only help generate money for the state, but it will also increase the jobs in Springfield. I think this is one of the benefits that no one can argue about the casino coming in.
The only question I would arise is, is MGM going to bring in there own qualified people, or are they going to higher people from the western mass area. If they bring in people from MGM I think that will negatively affect our city’s economy job wise. One of the main reasons we decided to let MGM put a casino in Springfield was to create jobs. If it can create jobs for locals than hopefully it will stimulate the economy in the south end district.
That is one of the pluses for sure, but when it comes down to the general idea of having the casino in Springfield, I think it will create a lot of issues. Casinos are a great way for a state to earn money, especially when you have it in the right location. The surrounding casinos are in CT and RI where they are located in small suburban areas. This casino will be located right in the middle of the city, which is going to attract a lot of rift raft. I think the big thing with the surrounding casinos is they only get people that are going there to gamble or partake in the hotel and casino.
By having the casino in Springfield, I think a lot of people are going to hang around the casino and cause a lot of problems. I am not being stereotypical but Springfield is known for its high crime rates and high drug use. I think a lot of people will be hanging around the casino causing problems that are going to create a lot of stress for the Springfield police department. I think they are going to end up dealing with more issues and scenarios around the newly developed south end district than ever before.
The City is also known for its drug related issues like I previously stated. Once the casino is opened I think the drug related issues are going to increase because there are going to be so many more people coming in and out of the city. I’m not saying that everyone that comes to the city is going to engage in criminal or drug related activities but with the history of the city of Springfield, I think it will be more than probable. This is not the only reason why I think the casino will be a bad decision for our economy.
When I talk about the casino being bad for our economy I am not talking about it having a financial effect. I think financially the casino is going to do great things for our state and the city of Springfield. The other big issue I do have with the casino is the traffic it is going to cause. The casino will be in a relatively travel efficient place for all consumers in New England. I live less than 10 miles away from the area where the new casino is being built and I think that the traffic that is going to be cause from the casino is going to be a pain for me.
When I look at this, I am not a big gambler, so the opportunity cost for me is very simple. The amount of time I am going to be stuck in traffic, I could be doing something more efficient with my time. I know this sounds kind of selfish but when it becomes a constant inconvenience, it would make any one upset. When it comes down to it, I think the casino will have many benefits and flaws. Since there is no stopping the casino from being built, I hope the casino really stimulates Springfield’s economy and the state of Massachusetts.
When it comes down to the facts financially, I think the casino will do great things for the south end district and it will end up being a much nicer and safe place than it is now, hopefully. I think that Springfield needed something big to come in and help out the city, and it is finally here. Hopefully the negative things that I think the casino is going to bring will not occur. My final opinion is that the Casino is not the best thing for Springfield, even though all its financial benefits.