The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Awards Approximately $4.1 Million in Grants from Community Mitigation Fund
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is pleased to announce the award of approximately $4.1 million in Community Mitigation grants to several municipalities and other eligible entities across Massachusetts. The gaming commission approved these grants during a public meeting in its Boston office on July 18, 2019.
The gaming law created the Community Mitigation Fund to help entities offset costs related to the construction and operations of gaming establishments. The statute states that the Commission will issue funds to assist host and surrounding communities … “including, but not limited to, communities and water and sewer districts in the vicinity of a gaming establishment, local and regional education, transportation, infrastructure, housing, environmental issues and public safety, including the office of the county district attorney, police, fire, and emergency services.” The Commission may also distribute funds to a governmental entity or district other than a single municipality in order to implement a mitigation measure that affects more than one community.
Since 2015, the MGC has awarded approximately $16 million in grants from the Community Mitigation Fund.
“The Community Mitigation Fund program highlights the Commonwealth’s commitment to not only maximize job creation and economic development, but also the Legislature’s strong mandate to mitigate any unintended consequences associated with the introduction of casinos,” said MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein. “The MGC is pleased to support communities in their efforts to address needs in transportation, tourism, workforce development and public safety. This latest funding initiative represents the continuation of our ongoing efforts to assess casino impacts and enhance the benefits of gaming.”
A Community Mitigation Fund review team conducted a comprehensive review of all applications to ensure compliance with the 2019 Guidelines and made recommendations to the Commission. After deliberation on those recommendations, the Commission voted to award the following grants:
|2019 TYPE OF APPLICATION
|City of Everett
|The grant will provide funding for the Everett Police Department to pay the salaries of officers that were trained at Northern Essex Community College. These new officers will replace officers transferred to the Gaming Enforcement Unit.
|Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept.
|The grant will provide funding for lease assistance for the Western Massachusetts Recovery & Wellness Center for FY2020. The center had to relocate after 29 years of operation at 26 Howard Street due to its placement within the physical footprint of MGM Springfield.
|Hampden County District Attorney
|The grant will provide funding for personnel to mitigate the increase in caseloads as a result of MGM Springfield’s opening.
|City of Springfield – Police
|The grant will provide funding for specific equipment for the Springfield Police Department to address public safety needs relating to the opening of MGM Springfield. For example, Springfield requested funding for new radios that would enable the Springfield Police Department and the Gaming Enforcement Unit to more easily communicate with each other. Similarly, the City asked for equipment to assist with traffic and crowd control, such as cones, message boards, Invarion Rapid Plan traffic software licenses, etc.
|City of Boston
|The grant will provide funding for a portion of the design cost to improve Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue. Boston noted that approximately 70% of the traffic generated by Encore Boston Harbor has been projected to go through Sullivan Square.
|City of Lynn
|The grant will provide funding for a traffic analysis, functional design report and conceptual design development for the Route 107 corridor. Route 107 connects Revere, Everett and Boston to the south, along with Salem and Peabody to the north, with casino patrons and employees expected to use Route 107 to access the casino.
|City of Medford
|The grant will provide funding to design a multi-use boardwalk under the Route 28 bridge. A completed boardwalk could provide Encore Boston Harbor employees and patrons safer access the casino’s shuttles from Station Landing to the facility without having to navigate Wellington Circle or cross Route 28 at grade on foot or by bicycle.
|City of Everett / City of Somerville
|The grant will provide funding to advance the planning and design of the MBTA Silver Line bus rapid transit service from Chelsea through Everett along the MBTA Commuter Rail right-of-way to Sullivan Square and then to Somerville. An extension of the Silver Line with a stop at Encore Boston Harbor would provide significant regional transportation benefits and could also significantly help reduce traffic related to Encore Boston Harbor.
|City of Revere/Town of Saugus
|The grant will provide funding to further advance the planning and design of improvements along the Route 1 project corridor. Environmental Impact Reports prepared for Encore Boston Harbor envisioned approximately 9% of the traffic would be using the Route 1 corridor to get to/from the casino.
|City of Everett / City of Somerville
|The grant will provide funding to fully design a connection from Draw 7 Park in Somerville across the MBTA tracks to the Assembly Square Orange Line Station head house. The MBTA head house expansion is part of a broader effort to connect pedestrians and bicyclists to a regional pathway network and to provide a way over the Mystic River from Everett, opening new transportation options to thousands of people.
|Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
|The grant will provide funding to improve the utilization of the current Loop Service and to assist in the PVTA’s marketing and advertising efforts.
|City of Boston
|The grant will provide funding to support the next phase of the Greater Boston Casino Pipeline Initiative to create a pipeline of job seekers to resolve the backfill needs of local hospitality employers as talent migrates to Encore, as well as to help workers gain employment at Encore.
|Holyoke Community College
|The grant will provide funding for the continuation of the Work Ready program, which will enroll up to 200 individuals in the gaming school through scholarships, up to 70 individuals in certificate training, 180 in English literacy for the workplace, and 100 individuals in Adult Basic Education classes in order to get them into the pipeline for skills training and job placement.
|Masshire MetroNorth Workforce Board
|The grant will provide funding for a project whereby local residents are engaged and referred to services aimed at preparing them for career opportunities in the hospitality and gaming sector.
|City of Chelsea / City of Everett
|The grant will provide funding for the creation of a trilingual Enterprise Center at the Chelsea Campus of Bunker Hill Community College. The center will provide skills training and services to entrepreneurs, existing businesses, and workers, initially focusing on the hospitality sector. The initiative will create a pipeline of workers and businesses to support and provide services to the Encore Boston Harbor and its guests, and provide a skilled workforce to backfill open positions within the communities as workers are hired by the casino.
|City of Chicopee / City of Springfield
|The grant will provide funding to help implement potential projects outlined in “Reinvesting the Gaming Economic Development Fund” and “Implementation Blueprint, An Economic Development Strategy for the Renaissance of a Great American Downtown: Springfield, MA”, with an emphasis on downtown Springfield development and a development program for the Westover Metropolitan Airport.
|City of Northampton
|The grant will provide funding for continued marketing activities building upon the activities already funded by the MGC, which include an evaluation of the marketing campaign performance from 2019 and planning for 2020, campaign planning activities and monitoring and measuring the response and feedback posted on the “Northampton Live” web site.
|City of Revere
|The grant will provide funding for a tourism video that will promote the City of Revere as a destination and also will feature Encore Boston Harbor as a nearby major attraction.
|Town of Saugus
|The grant will provide funding for a tourism video that will promote the Town of Saugus as a destination and also will feature Encore Boston Harbor as a nearby major attraction.
|Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (SPREDD)
|Tribal Gaming Technical Assistance
|The grant will provide funding for requests for studies to assist communities in geographic proximity to the potential Tribal Gaming facility in Taunton with regard to traffic capacity and operational impacts, should the construction of the Tribal Gaming facility move forward. This continuation of a prior year grant would require a separate Commission vote to proceed depending on the status of the proposed Tribal facility.
|Town of Foxborough / Town of Plainville / Town of Wrentham
|The grant will provide funding to hire a professional marketing consultant/firm to prepare a marketing, strategic and creative plan for the destination marketing of the Towns of Foxborough, Plainville, and Wrentham. The towns envision the regional approach benefitting Plainridge Park Casino by attracting more tourists, business travelers and visitors to the region, along with establishing the area as a destination for overnight stays.
Visit the Community Mitigation Fund page on MassGaming.com to learn more about the 2019 applications and guidelines.
The mission of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is to create a fair, transparent, and participatory process for implementing the expanded gaming law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in November, 2011. In creating that process, the Commission will strive to ensure that its decision-making and regulatory systems engender the confidence of the public and participants, and that they provide the greatest possible economic development benefits and revenues to the people of the Commonwealth, reduce to the maximum extent possible the potentially negative or unintended consequences of the new legislation, and allow an appropriate return on investment for gaming providers that assures the operation of casino-resorts of the highest quality. For more information on MGC, please visit MassGaming.com or connect and share on Twitter (@MassGamingComm) or Facebook www.facebook.com/MAGamingComm.