MILFORD, Mass. – The group that's against a casino in Milford is stepping up its opposition efforts by holding a meeting Wednesday, a couple of weeks after Foxwoods joined the developer of the proposed casino in town.
Casino-Free Milford, a group of concerned citizens from Milford and neighboring towns, plans to meet Feb. 27 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Milford Board of Selectmen’s meeting room in Town Hall. Residents who are not group members are also invited.
At their last meeting, Casino-Free Milford organizers discussed ways to campaign against a casino in town. On Wednesday, the group will encourage participants to “split into subcommittees, get acquainted, exchange emails and set up their own meetings and game plans,” according to the agenda.
The subcommittees include fundraising; field operations; research; and communication, outreach and media contact. The group also has a subcommittee to coordinate stand-outs around town.
Colorado developer David Nunes filed a Phase 1 application Jan. 15 for his Crossroads Massachusetts casino proposal in Milford. It was one of 11 casino/slot parlor requests submitted to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission with a $400,000 non-refundable fee.
Ken Rockett, a leader of Casino-Free Milford, said the casino is proposed for the intersection of Interstate 495 and Route 16 in Milford.
Nunes’ past plans called for an $850-million complex that included a 176,000-square-foot gambling floor, a 350-room hotel and 60,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurant space.
Then recently, Foxwoods Resort Casino, a hotel casino in Ledyard, Conn., on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation, joined as a full partner and stakeholder in the Milford casino proposal.
“I think this legitimizes the casino bid in Milford in the eyes of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission,” Rockett said. “But for Casino-Free Milford, I don’t think it changes much for us. It’s still the same location and same proposal, so it doesn’t change things dramatically. We just have to move forward and continue fighting against it,” he added.
As part of their effort, Casino-Free Milford also plans to speak with the Milford Board of Selectmen on March 18 at 7 p.m.
“We will present our list of concerns regarding the building of a destination-style resort casino in Milford,” according to Rockett.
Nunes will be competing against two Boston-area proposals from industry heavyweights Suffolk Downs and its partner, Caesars Entertainment; and Steve Wynn, who has proposed an Everett resort.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission expects that the first resort-casino license could be awarded by February 2014.
Casino proposals must clear the hurdle of a vote by residents of the host community. Anticipating this, Casino-Free Milford is attempting to organize Milford residents to vote against the casino; a vote could happen later this year.