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Charlestown residents raise concerns on casino traffic

Charlestown residents implored Wynn Resorts Tuesday night to provide more details on its plan to address the increased traffic that will come to their neighborhood if state officials allow the gambling giant to build a resort casino in neighboring Everett.

About 200 residents packed Charlestown High School to hear from Wynn representatives and city officials during a public meeting on the proposed $1.6 billion project slated for a vacant former chemical site on the Mystic River.

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The state Gaming Commission expects to award the Greater Boston casino license in May to either the Wynn team or a competing proposal from Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs, which hope to build a resort on the Revere side of the track.

On Tuesday night, backers and opponents of the project alike said Wynn officials need to provide more specifics about their plan to stem traffic problems, especially in and around Sullivan Square, a key entry to Everett.

“I think if you can’t handle the traffic . . . it’s something that’s just not viable for a region,” said Rebecca Love, co-president of the Charlestown Mothers Association.

Wynn officials discussed few specifics of their traffic plan for the neighborhood Tuesday night, but stressed that they are committed to finding a solution.

“We understand that when you boil this all down for Charlestown, it’s mostly about traffic,” said Chris Gordon, project manager for Wynn.

‘I think if you can’t handle the traffic . . . it’s something that’s just not viable for a region.’

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According to literature that Wynn officials distributed Tuesday, the company is “committed to fund the planning and realization” of the city’s preferred Sullivan Square design, as part of its traffic improvements. A plan to reconfigure area streets has long been in the works and is expected to take years, city records show.

Wynn officials say additional remedies, including ferry service from downtown Boston and having employees park off-site and take shuttle buses into the resort, will also soften the blow.

But Councilor Salvatore LaMattina was sharply critical of the presentation.

“It’s really insulting that you’re here and you don’t have a solution,” he told company representatives.

Gordon said in response that Wynn will spend millions on developing a “full-blown solution” for Sullivan Square.

Some residents questioned the environmental impact of the project, as well as the building design, even as the company pledged to thoroughly and safely clean up the waterfront to make way for a “top of the line” resort.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh also attended the meeting and, while he took no position on the Wynn or Mohegan proposals, he said in brief remarks that his administration wants to hear the concerns of the community.

“My job as mayor of the city of Boston . . . is to protect the residents of Charlestown and to protect the residents of the city of Boston,” he said to applause.

A similar forum on the Mohegan Sun proposal, which the Gaming Commission will host, is planned in East Boston in the coming weeks.

Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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