Arrigo Forms Advisory Team To Monitor Casino Impact

If there’s one thing that Revere residents learned from Mayor Brian Arrigo’s press conference last Thursday at Revere City Hall, it’s that when the subject is the Encore Boston/Harbor Hotel, everyone is interested.

There were no less than eight television cameras, including one manned by Revere TV’s Bob Dunbar, and Boston and local reporters on hand when Arrigo stepped to the podium outside his office to announce the establishment of a casino advisory commission.

Mayor Brian Arrigo (seated) and the members of the Casino Advisory Commission, from left, Tyler Ash, Community Development, Reuben Kantor, Director of Innovation and Data Management, Ben DeChristoforo, Director of Inspectional Services, Richard Viscay, City Auditor, Robert O’Brien, Director of Community and Economic Development, Police Chief James Guido, Fire Chief Chris Bright, Julie Newhall, Director of SUDI, Paul Argenzio, Superintendent of Public Works, Beth Rosa, Community Development, and John Festa, Community Development.

Encore Boston Harbor is the biggest story in Massachusetts this year and the grand opening of the spectacular $2.6 billion resort Sunday – complete with a fireworks exhibition followed by many residents’ first introduction to Wynn’s five-star elegance and excellence – was a sign that Las Vegas had arrived next door in Everett.

With the members of the advisory team standing impressively behind him in the City Hall corridor, Arrigo spoke about the board’s mission of tracking and reviewing the impacts of the opening of Encore Boston Harbor on the city of Revere.

Arrigo said the resort/casino’s opening will have significant impacts, “some of them will be good – and some of them, we expect to be negative.”

“We have to be pro-active, ready and prepared to support our residents and our business community,” added Arigo.

 Members of the media pressed Arrigo with questions about potential traffic issues.

“Revere is blessed with a border to Boston and Everett and we have major roadways that run through Route 1A, Route 16, Route 1,” said Arrigo. “Every major roadway and state road that runs through our city, we’re most concerned about it.”

Arrigo was asked about Revere being in a position of not having a surrounding community agreement unlike other cities.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a surrounding community agreement,” Arrigo responded. “That was a decision that was made by the previous administration. What I’m trying to make sure people know is that we have their backs. I cannot control what happens in Everett, or at the casino, but I can attempt to control what happens in the city and be proactive about it.

“We want to make the case to the state and to others that we are going to be impacted by this negatively in some ways and we deserve to be in line for some form of mitigation,” said Arrigo. “We share a border with Everett and yet we are not considered a surrounding community – I don’t know how that works, but the fact is that we have to make the case, and that’s part of what we’re doing today.”

Arrigo stated that the city of Malden gets “over $1 million a year, per year, as a surrounding community.”

The mayor said the city has been in “active conversation” with the Mass. Gaming Commission and Wynn Encore and that he wants to use the data collected by the Revere advisory commission “to make the case [to the Gaming Commission and to Wynn Encore] that these impacts should be recognized.”

So was the mayor’s press conference – held one day before Encore Boston Harbor’s own media day event – effective?

The mayor certainly delivered his message well. His remarks were widely aired on WBZ-AM Radio and on Boston television newscasts throughout the day and in to the evening.

But whether the city will eventually enter a community agreement – which was no doubt one of the goals of the press conference – is not known at this time.

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