East Windsor is one of the last two towns standing for the chance to land what could be Connecticut's third casino, and officials there are welcoming what could come with it.
“We’re open to tax revenue and jobs. I consider it more of an entertainment facility than a casino," said Bob Maynard, the town's First Selectman.
The site under consideration is where there is a vacant Showcase Cinema, as well as a vacant retail store that once housed a Wal-Mart.
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Since the site is so close to Interstate 91, and not much closer to the heart of East Windsor, town officials could see how an entertainment complex could fit into the town.
"We pride ourselves on our rural charm," Maynard, a Republican, said. "But we also see the value in it."
Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown says he's hearing the same kinds of positives from Windsor Locks as well. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes have been in the process of site selection for over a year, and have been pursuing a third casino for two years. The tribes would jointly run the facility as a commercial venture off reservation lands.
“We feel some momentum of folks recognizing that this is what comes: tax dollars, jobs, local municipal improvements to services and capacity," Brown said Tuesday. "Those are all of the good things that come and we think those two communities see that as a way ahead.”
Brown and Mashantucket Pequot Chairman Rodney Butler will meet with East Windsor residents next Tuesday in a town hall to answer questions they may have about the development of a casino.
Maynard said he thinks elected leaders in East Windsor favor a casino, and said the land is ready to be developed without much intervention from the local government.
“It has to be zoned correctly and if it’s zoned correctly then a business can build what it wants to build," he said.
When asked about his stance on a third casino, Gov. Dannel Malloy maintained his distance from the project, which has left him on the fence.
Malloy said, "That’s a legislative process. The tribal nations have done a nice job of keeping me informed of where they are and the like and this has got a ways to go.”