Meeting Set on Suffolk Casino

Thursday, November 15, 2012
By Cary Shuman

The Town of Winthrop held its Veterans Day Ceremony Sunday on the Town Hall Lawn. Pictured at the ceremony are, from left, Town Veterans Agent Larry Holmes, Fire Chief Paul Flanagan, Council President Peter Gill, U.S, Marine Corporal Joseph Cordes, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, Acting Police Chief Frank Scarpa, and Town Manager James McKenna.

Part of the large crowd that attended the service at Town Hall.

After an exciting election season that kept the area’s attention for months, the local spotlight will try turn back to the possible construction of a casino next door in East Boston as Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers convenes a meeting tonight with Suffolk Downs President and CEO Chip Tuttle and other officials.

Powers, chairman of the Town Council’s casino mitigation committee, invites residents to attend the informational forum and question-and-answer session that will begin at 7 p.m. at the Robert A. DeLeo Senior Center.

Suffolk Downs has plans to build a $1 billion casino/entertainment complex on its property located in East Boston and Revere.

Powers and Councilors Craig Mael and Russell Sanford have been gathering public input from Winthrop residents about the casino and its impact on the town.

Powers said his committee has met in public forums with Winthrop and Fire Department officials, Winthrop DPW staff, and Chamber of Commerce leaders to discuss the casino proposal.

“Once we meet with Winthrop school leaders, we’ll  be trying to consolidate all the information into a framework to present to the Council president [Peter Gill] and that at point he and the town manager [James McKenna] would make a decision on how the town will proceed in beginning to discuss a mitigation agreement with Suffolk Downs,” said Powers.

Gill and McKenna will make the decision as to who will sit on the committee that does the actual negotiations with Suffolk Downs. Powers has indicated that he would be willing to serve on the negotiations committee.

“Our [casino mitigation] committee was put together to hold meetings with the public and get input and recommendations from the public as where they felt mitigation could be done and how it could be done,” said Powers.

Powers, the former chief of the Winthrop Fire Department, has earned praise from residents for his professional and efficient administration of committee meetings.

Winthrop and Chelsea have been designated “surrounding communities” to the casino while East Boston and Revere are “host communities.” Powers said that Suffolk Downs would need agreements with all four communities in order to proceed in the casino license application process.

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