West Springfield casino plan shot down - CBS 5 - KPHO

West Springfield casino plan shot down

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

West Springfield voters have shot down Hard Rock's $800 million casino proposal for their city by 55-45 percent.

What was meant to be a victory party at the Dante Club across from the Big E fairgrounds, turned into a concession as dozens of Hard Rock supporters were somewhat shell-shocked after the loss.

But Hard Rock representatives say the voters have spoken.

"We respect that. It's clear they do not want a casino in West Springfield," said President of Hard Rock New England, Tim Maland.

Maland and the casino company's supporters were shocked Tuesday night after the casino proposal was struck down by a wide margin of 10 percent.

"We tried to tell them this is more than just a casino, but I think the casino aspect of it is something they don't want in West Springfield," Maland said. 

"West Side yes" signs and blue and white balloons were meant to be hung for a celebration.

But residents who were wanting to see the casino built in their town say they're disappointed and even called out those who campaigned against the casino.

"It was scare tactics."

"it's going to affect our children and our grandchildren and that's sad. The big E really needed this."

The casino would have sat on 38 acres of vacant land at the big e fairgrounds. The neighborhood around the big e was the only one where a majority of people voted "yes".

It's also town councilor's Angus Rushlow's ward.

"I wish the people had gotten out and got more information on what hard rock and the big e were trying to do."

Hard Rock reps had been meeting with residents for months ahead of today's vote, promising $18 million to the town in annual payments plus another 35 million for road and infrastructure improvements.

Gene Cassidy, president of the eastern states exposition says while a disappointment, the Big E will still go on as scheduled and with no big changes.

"this is a loss no question about it. But our goal at the eastern states, my goal was to give the town the opportunity to look at this development."

Maland says they wouldn't have done anything differently.

"we worked hard, we tried our best, we thought we were honest, open, above board, transparent, communicated our message very well I thought and we have been told by the residents, we don't want you."

Maland also tells CBS 3 that there are no plans to pursue another endeavor in any part of the state at this time.

West Springfield town councilors are turning their attention to Springfield's casino plans.

They're hoping to get a better deal from MGM.

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