The Town Council Casino Committee, comprised of Chairman Joseph “Larry” Powers, Russ Sanford and Craig Mael met with members of the community for the second time Tuesday night in an attempt to begin identifying how a mitigation package from a Suffolk Downs Casino might be used, if a casino is approved for that site.
Powers, who managed the meeting, noted that the committee is not taking any stance on whether a casino should or should not be approved for Suffolk Downs, since the town of Winthrop will have no direct vote in that process.
Rather, he indicated, the committee’s only interest in trying to help the future negotiating committee identify the items that could serve as the framework for a mitigation agreement, if a casino is in fact approved for the site.
‘In the end, everything we put forward and suggest may not end up in the mitigation agreement, because the agreement is ultimately a negotiated document, but we have to at least prepare for the negotiations and part of that is determining where people would like to see that money go,” he said.
Powers said that he expects the committee will have at least two or three more public meetings, like the one on Tuesday night in order to try and develop ideas for potential mitigation. However, to date, the meetings have been mostly a forum for residents who wish to voice the concerns over a potential casino development or their disapproval of casino at Suffolk Downs.
“In the end, we are a surrounding community, so we will be eligible for a mitigation package, but we will not have any say in whether or not the casino will be developed there, that will be up to the voters in East Boston and Revere,” he noted. “We’ll probably stop having these meetings, when we hit a point where we they are becoming repetitive. . .when we start hearing the same things with no new ideas.
Powers also noted that if the public does not step forward with ideas that can be considered by the council and the eventual negotiating committee, the current casino committee may have to come up with ideas on their own.
“We may have to sit down and brainstorm a bit and see what kinds of ideas we can come up with,” said Powers. “If we’re not getting concrete ideas, we may not have any other choice.”