News that Mohegan Sun casino plans to file an application today to build a casino in Palmer drew reactions from people on both sides of the issue.
Palmer Town Councilor-At-Large Paul Burns welcomed the news, saying Palmer had advantages over other proposed sites because of its more than 300 available acres.
He said in a statement there is strong community support in Palmer for the project, which could drive economic development in central and western Massachusetts and recapture market share “that no urban site could.”
But members of Quaboag Valley Against Casinos said a casino could bring more traffic, divert business from local shops, and lure residents to gamble rent and grocery money.
“I don’t believe there’s as much support as Paul Burns says there is,” Monson resident Emy Shepherd said.
The anti-casino group’s co-president Iris Cardin said the organization will meet at an old schoolhouse in Palmer on Tuesday night to continue its fight against casino development. She called Palmer a cozy and family friendly community that could be ruined by a casino.
“It brings prostitutes. It brings in drugs,” Cardin said. “This isn’t Las Vegas.”
Mohegan Sun would join three other companies vying to open the state’s only western Massachusetts casino.
A Mohegan executive told The Boston Globe the company struck a partnership with New York investment group Brigade Capital Management to bankroll the development.
The state Gaming Commission said Monday that it anticipates getting a Mohegan application today.
The deadline for gaming interests to submit a first application in a two-phase process, including a $400,000 non-refundable fee, is 5 p.m. Tuesday.