Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Host Agreement Meeting
On Thursday, April Mayor Carlo DeMaria held a press conference and community meeting to announce the details of the Host Community Agreement recently signed by the City of Everett and Wynn Development for the $1 billion resort/casino development being proposed for Lower Broadway along the banks of the Mystic River.
The Agreement includes an impressive $30 million in advance towards a Community Enhancement fund, payable in three payments to the City prior to the resort’s opening. Mayor DeMaria was adamant in his negotiations for this portion of the agreement, citing that these funds will allow the City to continue its Capital Improvement efforts and to facilitate necessary public projects and infrastructure maintenance and improvements.
In addition, the City will also reap $25.5 million annually once the resort opens. This includes the $20 million for real estate taxes, $5 million dollars for a Community Impact Fee - to offset costs incurred by the City as a result of the project, and a $250,000 contribution to the Everett Citizens Foundation, which will be created to support and promote local groups, organizations, and associations important to the City. Even more impressive is that the Mayor and his team negotiated for these payments to increase by 2.5% each year – for as long as Wynn retains the license and the resort remains in operation.
These figures do not include the estimated $2.5 million per year the City will collect in hotel and meals taxes, or the $50,000 a year in vouchers/ gift certificates to local Everett businesses that Wynn has agreed to purchase and disseminate to his customers as part of a rewards/loyalty/frequent guest program.
According to the HCA, Wynn will also be responsible for paying any costs incurred by the City for items necessitated by the Project, including determining impacts; holding an election; assessing zoning and permitting; upgrading electric, gas and water/sewer infrastructure; review and inspection of permit and license applications, construction and utility plants.
In addition to the financial aspect of the agreement, Mayor DeMaria was also firm in his request for Wynn to show a strong commitment to the City of Everett and its future. The resort would be a long-term investment of more than $1 billion, and would become the largest private, single-phase development in the history of Massachusetts. The Mayor firmly advocated for the strict mitigation of transportation and infrastructure impacts, as well as peer review of all traffic and economic condition studies, which are currently being conducted and will be available for public dissemination prior to the election.
The Mayor also held firm in his request for hiring preference for Everett residents for the over 8,000 construction and permanent jobs that will arise from the development. As well as the City’s desire to have public access to the waterfront – consistent with the ongoing Lower Broadway Master Plan and Municipal Harbor Plan. Prior to development, Wynn would also be committing to a multi-million dollar remediation of the existing environmental contamination – a feat of near impossibility for the City on its own. Once again, Everett would have a real, active waterfront area for all its residents to enjoy.
Some of the traffic and transportation improvements agreed to in the HCA include: A signature entrance into the site at the intersection of Broadway and Horizon Way, including four-lane boulevard (two in, two out), sign, period lighting, sidewalks and bike accommodations; the widening of Broadway approaching the site to accommodate separate right and left-turn lanes into the development; Traffic signal control into the project site; and Below-grade connection under MBTA train tracks for pedestrian and bike access, allowing for extension in linear park system in the Mystic River and beyond.
The Mayor also advocated for items that would encourage responsible gaming, among our community as well as for outside visitors and patrons to the casino. As a result, Wynn will expand its existing Responsible Gaming Plan to include the City of Everett. This ongoing program by the Wynn Development group makes sure that those who cannot game responsibly get the help they need and to make sure people who can game responsibly, understand its importance. This endeavor is accomplished by educating employees and providing information to patrons about the odds of games and how to make responsible gaming decisions, promoting responsible gaming in daily operations, and supporting public awareness of responsible gaming.
The next step in the process will occur on Saturday, June 22nd when Everett residents will head to the polls and vote. The Mayor made clear that more community meetings would be taking place prior to voting to assure that every voter has had his or her questions answered and possesses all the pertinent information necessary to make in informed judgment.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria answers question from the community
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