One Step Closer: Casino Project at Suffolk Downs Advances

The signing by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino of  a Host Community Agreement Tuesday for the proposed casino/resort at Suffolk Downs (which will bring East Boston a $33.4 million upfront payment for community improvement projects and an annual payment of up $20 million each year in community impact revenue) brings one step closer to reality the dream of a world-class gambling and entertainment destination in Winthrop’s backyard.

Obviously, this appears to be a great deal for East Boston.  The City of Revere will be announcing its Host Community Agreement soon and no doubt that city also will be the beneficiary of a windfall from this project.

Winthrop officials and residents surely are following closely all casino-related developments and their impact on Winthrop.  Winthrop has been designated “a surrounding community” and is thus eligible for some community-impact funding. Winthrop’s mitigation package has not been determined yet, but we’re sure it will be of great benefit to our town’s taxpayers.

Apart from the direct payments that will flow to the casino-area communities, there are the indirect benefits that will prove to be a boon to the local economy.  The casino will result in 4,000 permanent jobs at project completion. In addition, there will be  2,500 construction jobs during the building of the casino/resort, 2,225 early-opening jobs, and 800 permanent jobs one year prior to the opening.

It also should be noted that the agreement commits to the continued operation of the race track at Suffolk Downs, which also will continue to be a boon to the local economy.

Moreover, major infrastructure improvements, including a fly-over road on Route 1A and $9.32 million for improvements to City of Boston/East Boston intersections and roadways that Winthrop residents use every day, will be of immense benefit to everybody who lives in our town.

All in all, the prospect of a world-class hotel/casino complex next door to us promises to bring about  changes of a sort that will alter our little corner of the world to a degree not seen in more than 100 years.

For our part, we have to say that we cannot wait.

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