Casino advocates, opponents speak out at gaming commission meeting

Posted: Updated:

Dozens of voices were heard Monday night at the state gaming commission's public hearing at West Springfield Middle School.

Both the public and elected officials had the opportunity to speak on both sides of the issue.

The auditorium at the middle school was standing room only. Comments, concerns and suggestions were all heard by the gaming commission.

Members of the public and elected officials took to the podium, being given five minutes to speak to the commission, who did not provide feedback but took note of the comments.

Chairman of the Commission Stephen Crosby said while a lot of what was said Monday night reinforced what they've already heard, but new thoughts were also mentioned.

"People have raised issue about getting hard to employee people getting access to these jobs, there's this issue of the viaduct, their redevelopment of the viaduct and are we being tentative of the impact of that and the timing of that," Crosby said.

The public input is important, but Crosby says the casino is likely coming to Springfield.

"I think realistically the likelihood is it will happen, but there may very well be some tweaks as we go through the evaluation process," Crosby said. 

Steve Abdow, of Amherst, hopes the casino stays out of the city of Homes altogether.

"They are going to suck a lot of discretionary income out of the local community and really hurt local businesses," Abdow said. 

Springfield resident Carol Kerr embraces the new construction jobs and life the casino could bring.

"As a community, this is an opportunity for a renaissance for our city like we've never seen it before," Kerr said. 

There will be another opportunity for more voices to be heard on April 1 in Springfield when the state gaming commission holds its next public hearing.

Stay with CBS 3 Springfield for the latest details on that meeting. 

Copyright 2014 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.