Q. What would be the most significant impact a casino would have on the residents of Everett?
A. This resort would put Everett back on the map. Over the last several decades, we’ve lost major employers and taxpayers like GE Aviation, Charlestown Chew, and Monsanto, to name a few. This one facility would bring over 4,000 careers to the community, place the state’s finest hotel on our shores, clean a severely blighted site, and make Everett once again a community of choice. The taxes alone add well over 25 percent to our city coffers in addition to the $30 million city beautification fund and the opportunity to raise revenue from tourists through a hotel tax.
Q. Can concerns over traffic caused by the casino be addressed?
A. Yes. the Wynn proposal is comprehensive and ongoing. It includes major reconstruction and modernizations of the major traffic circles, routes 99 and 16. If the city of Boston wins this license we will be saddled with heavy traffic through the Route 16 corridor. Boston, as is typical, is not even considering us an affected community or seeking our opinion. Boston will stick us with the traffic as they did by doubling the inbound tolls on the Tobin, making us a cut-through city. I am sick of being a dumping ground for Boston. They placed a sewage plant on our doorstep, move excruciatingly slow on the Alford Street Bridge, and use our lands to stage all their construction. It’s our time!
Q. Are you worried a gambling operation would attract crime?
A. I am not worried at all. Wynn Resorts plans to have a great deal of security on site, ensuring the safety of its patrons and grounds. I have gone to both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun and have always felt safe, whether it was 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning. In addition to the folks they will have assigned to security, the city of Everett will receive a $5 million impact fee each year. This fee is approximately 25 percent of our current public safety budget. Also, our chief of police was diligent in contacting other chiefs in other cities that have seen this kind of development, and they all said there was no significant impact, and in several cases [crime] decreased. I feel certain that this facility will help us secure our city and clean up our streets.
Q. Does the language in the host agreement ensure that jobs would go to Everett residents?
A. With 4,000 full-time careers, even if that language was not in the agreement, it would be a no-brainer that Everett residents would receive the lion’s share of the jobs. With that being said, two of the first questions I asked the mayor back in November, when we first heard about the development, were: Will this put my neighbors to work, and understanding the issue of traffic in that area, how will it be fixed? Again, I think both sides worked well on the traffic plan and I believe the mayor did a good job ensuring that the jobs would be given to Everett residents first. That is not to say that someone from another city can’t and won’t get a job at the resort because — make no mistake — they will. This language reads that Everett residents will be given first chance at hiring. This development will be a job creator, [and] not only within the boundaries of the resort.
Q. How would the presence of a casino change the quality of life for people who live in Everett?
A. If and when successful, this development will be a shot in the arm to the city. It puts us back on the map, brings new industry and good-paying jobs to the city, and ties us back into the Metro Boston area. What is the difference between Cambridge and the Charles River and Everett and the Mystic? We are actually closer to the tourist center of Boston. It’s our time to redevelop and modernize our city. I can only see this as being a Win “Wynn” for Everett and the people.Kathy McCabe can be reached at Kmccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.