springfield

The city of Springfield is seeking an exception to Proposition 2 ½ , the Massachusetts property tax cap law, when it comes to casinos.

   An $800 million resort casino could mean tens of millions of dollars annually in additional property taxes for Springfield.  But Mayor Domenic Sarno said the city will not get the full financial benefits from a casino development unless a change is made to Prop 2 ½.

WAMC

Special masses were said in Catholic churches in the region today to mark the installation of  Pope Francis.  

   About 200 people braved a snowstorm to attend a noon mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield, where Bishop Timothy McDonnell declared it a day to rejoice.

   The mass in Springfield took place several hours after the installation mass  for the new pope was held under bright blue skies in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican . The crowd there was estimated at between 150,000- 200,000 people.

WAMC

City councilors in Springfield Massachusetts have voted to reject a settlement with several banks over a foreclosure ordinance.

The vote means the city can implement the ordinance even if the banks continue to challenge its legality in the federal appeals court.  The ordinance, passed in 2011, and upheld by a federal judge last year requires banks to post a$10,000 bond to maintain and secure vacant foreclosed property.  City councilor Melvin Edwards said city taxpayers will no longer have to pay to eradicate the blight that results from foreclosure.

WAMC

Community activists in several US cities are calling for changes in housing policies. They point to a shortage of affordable housing in the midst of a surplus of vacant, bank-foreclosed properties. One of  the cities where anti-poverty activists point to what they see as a housing crisis is Springfield Massachusetts. 

WAMC

City Councilors in Springfield Massachusetts Monday night will consider changing a foreclosure ordinance to settle a lawsuit by several banks.

The change would exempt banks from having to post a $10,000 bond to secure and maintain foreclosed vacant property, if other conditions are met, including hiring a local property manager. A mediation program to help people at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure would be implemented. City Council Vice President Bud Williams said implementation of the ordinance has been blocked since it was passed almost two years ago.

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The two companies competing to build a resort casino in Springfield Massachusetts have affirmed local hiring goals.

   Penn National Gaming says  its goal is to hire 90 percent of its workforce from the city of Springfield.  MGM Resorts said 35  percent of its employees would be city residents, and 90 percent would live in the Greater Springfield area.  William Ward, held of the Hampden Regional Employment Board said the agency will work with whichever company gets the casino license

   A consortium of community colleges plans to offer casino job training courses..

wikipedia commons

Police in Springfield Massachusetts are expanding the use of gunshot detection technology.

   The area of Springfield now covered by the  gun shot detection system has been roughly doubled. The expansion was paid for by $120,000 in private donations collected by the New North Citizens Council as part of the civic organization’s safe neighborhood initiative. Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet said the technology can put police on a crime scene in time to make an arrest and seize a gun

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno plans to begin negotiations today with the two casino companies competing for development rights.  Top executives from MGM Resorts and Penn National Gaming gave assurances at a public forum on Monday that their projects will not cause monumental traffic problems.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he appreciates that two world class developers are each prepared to invest up to $1 billion dollars  for economic development in downtown Springfield.

WAMC

The city of Springfield Massachusetts is considering changing a local ordinance that was hailed as a national model for addressing problems caused by foreclosures. Community activists, who championed the ordinance when it passed almost two years ago, accuse city officials of caving into the banks.

The mayor of Springfield Massachusetts has announced a delay in negotiations over building a resort casino downtown. The city will take more time to review written proposals from two casino operators competing for the city’s support. 

The detailed plans and related documents for two competing resort casino proposals in Springfield Massachusetts have been made public. 


 

WAMC

Eleven applications have been filed for lucrative gaming licenses in Massachusetts. Companies that want to develop resort  casinos  or a slots parlor had to meet a 5PM Tuesday deadline to file paperwork and a non-refundable $400,000 fee with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

       Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby was thrilled. He said the state is primed to achieve maximum job creation and revenue from its fledgling gambling industry.

WAMC

American International College Tuesday announced a $25 million dollar redevelopment of the historic Indian Motorcycle property adjacent to its campus in Springfield Massachusetts.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

The project announced Tuesday will result in the redevelopment of 139 housing units in the former factory complex where legendary Indian Motorcycles were manufactured up until 1950.  It will include building apartments in  a former fire station that sits on the property in the heart of the inner city Mason Square Neighborhood.

WAMC

City Councilor James Ferrera, who assured the council a place at the center of the casino debate last year by creating a casino site committee, was re-elected by his colleagues to a rare second consecutive one year term as council president.  Ferrera predicted the casino issue would top the council’s agenda in 2013.

SFD

For the second time in 18 months the city of Springfield Massachusetts was hit by a major disaster in 2012.  A natural gas explosion rocked downtown on the Friday after Thanksgiving. As with the June 2011 tornado, the city went through a recovery period and is now looking to rebuild.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

A company that hopes to develop a casino in Springfield, Mass. says it has paid $650,000 in application fees to the city and state.

Penn National Gaming said in a statement Friday it had submitted a non-refundable, $400,000 application fee to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that was required by Jan. 15 for the company to be considered for a casino license.

The Pennsylvania-based company said it also submitted a $250,000 fee required by the city of Springfield, which is conducting its own casino review process.

Top executives from casino industry heavyweights MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming pitched their competing  plans for Springfield Massachusetts last night.  The forum drew hundreds of people with questions about the impact of a casino development in downtown Springfield.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Two high powered casino operators affirmed their commitments this week to pursue projects in Springfield Massachusetts.  Officials in Holyoke, a late entry to the western Massachusetts casino competition, are moving to form committees to review proposals from developers.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief  Paul Tuthill has an update on the fast moving casino story.

WAMC

The announcement by casino operator Ameristar that it is dropping out of the competition for a gambling license in Massachusetts has been greeted by disappointment in Springfield.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

The announcement late Friday by Ameristar came just five weeks after the company’s CEO Gordy Kanofsky, speaking to 200 invited guests inside a large white tent on a former industrial site, boasted about the plans to build a nearly $1 billion dollar resort casino on the property.

WAMC

The natural gas explosion in downtown Springfield Massachusetts last week dealt a blow to the homeless.  There is a shortage of beds at a time of year when demand for accommodations typically increases.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

An 18 room single occupancy apartment building for low income tenants and  a 60 bed nighttime shelter for the homeless were damaged by the blast and ordered by building inspectors to close pending repairs.

WAMC

Property tax bills for a majority of  homeowners and business owners in Springfield Massachusetts are expected to be lower in 2013.  But the reason won’t make most homeowners happy. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief  Paul Tuthill reports.

Ameristar Casinos

Nevada based gaming company Ameristar has unveiled renderings and announced details about the resort casino it hopes to build in Springfield Massachusetts.  It is one of three companies competing for casino development rights in Springfield.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

  

Penn National Gaming

Three experienced casino operators stepped forward ahead of a Thursday night deadline and will compete in Springfield for the chance to  build a casino in western Massachusetts.  Each is proposing a development project totaling almost $1 billion.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

WAMC

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Tuesday set the end of February 2014 as the outside date for awarding the first casino license in the state.    WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief  Paul Tuthill reports..

   The state’s gaming industry regulators discussed a master schedule which commission chairman Stephen Crosby described as prudent.

The background checks on the casino license applicants is the most time consuming part of the schedule, pegged to take a minimum of six months. The draft master schedule calls for the investigations to begin in January.

The state law that legalized casino gambling in Massachusetts requires voters in a host community to approve the casino development in a referendum.  The law permits cities , such as Springfield, to hold either an at-large  vote or limit it to just the ward where the casino would be built.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

      

       Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is adamant the voter referendum on whether there should be a casino built in Springfield will be held city-wide.

The city of Springfield Massachusetts, Friday, launched a formal casino selection process and set  an early October deadline for casino operators to make their intentions known.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

       Casino operators that want to build in Springfield have until October 10 to file an initial proposal with the city. After a preliminary review, city officials will determine by November 1st  which projects will advance to a more rigorous evaluation that will eventually culminate in a voter referendum on casino gambling in Springfield.

WAMC

Officials in Springfield Massachusetts have agreed to changes in a casino selection competition to address concerns about the timetable that were  raised last week by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. It will likely push back until next summer a voter referendum on a casino in Springfield..  WAMC’s  Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

  

WAMC

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission clashed with Springfield city officials Tuesday over the city’s proposed casino selection competition.  The state and local timetables that would lead to the launch of a resort casino development in western Massachusetts remain at odds.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

The city of Springfield Massachusetts put its casino competition on hold Wednesday. The move came one day after the state’s top gambling industry regulators raised questions about the city’s casino selection process.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Rebuilding Together Springfield

  Some people will skip a trip to the beach this Labor Day weekend to labor in tornado damaged areas of Springfield Massachusetts.  An official with the city’s long term recovery group says there is still a lot to be done to help people struggling to rebuild from the June 2011 disaster.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

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