Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Sunday, January 15, 2012
I Bet You Have An Opinion
Over eating, alcohol, drug abuse, gambling are among some actions that initially started of with a decision. Eventually, choice is no longer an option due the chemicals ones head is craving.
It is important to acknowledge that there are a percentage of the population that have a difficulty with some things others may not. Those affected need support, and ways to function despite their hurdles.
I have never had an issue with any town I have ever lived in having a liquor store within its borders despite the fact there were those that had an issue with alcohol living in town. The fact is that there were far more people that did not have a problem with alcohol than those that did. Each town did have support programs available for those that chose to take part.
The same can be said for those that over ate, gambled, and abused chemicals. Restaurants and food stores remained open, lottery tickets were still sold, and drug stores did not close up shop, and become a Starbucks.
That all being said, what about a casino resort here in Central Massachusetts? Do we need a casino out here?
We need the jobs that will come from constructing such a venue, and the estimated 3000 plus jobs that will be available after it is built. Employment opportunities in Central MA have never been great, and since the Great Recession hit in late 2006, employment has pretty much dried up. Unless, you wanted a minimum wage job to support a family of four on, you were SOL.
If we could make the same number of jobs in another way, that would be awesome, but unless someone wants to build a theme park in Hardwick, or a Mall of America in Rutland, it simply ain't gonna happen, or even come close. Here in the Heartland of Massachusetts we have been behind the low employment, low income eight ball for far too long.
MGM is currently promoting a resort casino it would like to build in Brimfield on 150 acres along the Mass Turnpike. The plan is to build ramps from the Pike to allow people access to the casino. There would be no access from the town side except for emergency vehicles. This plan, and the footprint on the surface sounds very good.
Bottom line is that a resort casino IS going to happen in Massachusetts whether we want it or not.
There will be many other ways a casino resort will affect the area. Traffic along I-84, and the Turnpike will spike, and plans to allow for that will need to be made. Real estate prices are going to rise. All those construction workers, and future casino employees are going to need roofs over their heads.
The supermarkets in the area will be tested, and new ones may be built along with all those other little businesses that show up with upward bumps in population.
So, here we are, at the crossroads of an age of poor employment, and all the positives that could come from new paychecks in Central MA, and our continued desire to live in an area that time has put on the back burner, sequestered off the beaten path.
Can we have it both ways? Can it work? We are in such dire straights now, and no one else has a plan. I say go for it. Go for it, and put in the controls to make it work well.
Now, sip your coffee, talk amongst yourselves, and let me know what I'm missing.
One more thing, don't get your shorts all in a bunch about gambling addiction, and how it ruins families, and lives. That's a given. We all know that, and wish it was another way, but this time let's stick with other arguments that are pursued less often.