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Casino plans raise concern

Lots of jobs pledged, but questions remain

Peter Schultz with an artistís rendering of the proposed Palmer casino as seen from the east. Its hotel is on the left and the concert hall on the right. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
September 21, 2009
For Peter Schultz, recent noise from some legislators supporting casinos is good news. It should be — he works for Mohegan Sun, as project coordinator for the tribe's proposed Palmer casino.

Monday morning, Schultz brought his case to a small group of people at Palmer Senior Center — a group that, ironically, did not include Palmer residents, according to one participant.

"We're committed to western Mass, and we're committed to Palmer," Schultz said. "If Palmer doesn't get it, we're done."

Noting there are still "a lot of ifs," in part because the Legislature is still debating whether to even legalize casinos, he estimated a timeline for the project. He predicted it will take a year for legislation to pass, then eight to 12 months for local permitting, followed by up to 2 years to build. When done, the casino will include a 600-room hotel, a roughly 5,000-seat concert hall and underground parking in addition to shops, restaurants and gaming facilities similar to the tribe's Montville, Conn., casino, he said.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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