Joe Curtatone Won’t Back Down in Fight with Wynn
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone is digging in his heels in the battle over the planned $1.7 billion Wynn Resorts casino in Everett.
The mayor, a strong opponent of casino gambling, blasted the Las Vegas-based company for attempting to intimidate them through the media. “No amount of public harassment from Wynn is enough to stop us from addressing this issue,” Curtatone told the Boston Herald.
Earlier this week, Curtatone said Somerville will continue to challenge the Everett project on environmental grounds, a move that could delay construction of the project by up to a year. Curtatone’s longstanding beef with the project goes beyond his general opposition to casino gambling. In his latest comments, the mayor pointed to potential traffic and air pollution from the project having a negative effect on Somerville.
Wynn countered Curtatone’s opposition to the project in a strongly worded press release that claimed delaying the project could cost the state economy $660 million annually. “It’s hard to comprehend how anyone can be against thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue that would benefit the entire Commonwealth,” said Robert DeSalvio, President of Wynn Everett in the statement.
Wynn officials went further, though, and took shots at the traffic around Somerville’s bustling Assembly Square development, which is near the site of the planned Everett casino.
“Assembly Square accounts for 24,000 vehicle trips to the area and future phases will add 16,000 trips for a total of 40,000 vehicle trips per midweek day. Wynn will account for 20,130 weekday trips, half the amount of Assembly Square. Despite the disparity, Wynn will spend $265 million in traffic mitigation whereas Somerville spent $116 million, $100 million of which was taxpayer funded. Wynn has one-half the traffic and more than twice as much spending in mitigation,” said Michael Weaver, spokesperson for Wynn Resorts.
Curtatone remains undeterred, believing Wynn failed to take into account potential delays when they planned their project.
“If (Wynn) were honest with the public and lawmakers, they would factor the appeal process into their timeline rather than draw some arbitrary line in the sand for the dishonest purpose of vilifying me and the Somerville community,” said Curtatone, per the Herald.