West Springfield scores $150K grant for traffic mitigation related to MGM Springfield
The Town of West Springfield has received a $150,000 community mitigation grant to help deal with traffic related to MGM Springfield, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced Wednesday.
The local funding is part of almost $2 million in mitigation assistance for communities impacted by the casino, which is expected to open in fall 2018.
"I'm thrilled," Mayor William C. Reichelt said. "It's our third year in a row getting grant dollars from the Gaming Commission."
This is the third round of casino-related mitigation funding for West Springfield, which has so far received $497,000 from the state. That includes an inaugural $100,000 in funding, followed by a $247,000 grant, followed by this latest grant.
The $150,000 grant will help pay for traffic engineering design services for improvements to the Route 20 corridor, including Elm, Park and Westfield streets. The money is expected to help West Side better handle casino-related traffic, while simultaneously improving pedestrian, bicycle and public transit access and safety, according to town officials.
"My CFO and Town Engineer have been key in getting this money," Reichelt said, referring to Sharon Wilcox and Jim Czach, respectively.
"This is definitely important to improve our infrastructure to handle increased casino traffic," the mayor said.
The Community Mitigation Fund, an outgrowth of the state's gaming law, was established to help municipalities offset costs related to the construction and operations of gaming establishments. Fitting that bill is the casino that's now rising over several blocks of Springfield's Metro Center and South End neighborhoods.
"The Community Mitigation Fund program underscores the commonwealth's commitment to not only maximizing the benefits associated with expanded gaming, such as jobs and economic development, but also the Legislature's strong mandate to mitigate any unintended consequences that potentially correlate with the arrival of casinos," Steve Crosby, Gaming Commission chairman, said in a statement Wedensday.
"This is only the beginning of our ongoing efforts in assessing impacts and maximizing the benefits of gaming," he said.