cities

Mark M. Murray / The Springfield Republican

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has relieved Sal Circosta of his seat on the city’s Community Police Hearing Board, which reviews complaints against police officers. Circosta was the mayor’s challenger in this last election.

Wikimedia

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is booting the three historical commission members who previously opposed MGM’s design plans. The mayor’s office denies there’s a connection.

Connecticut Local Election Turnout Was 33 Percent

Nov 7, 2015

Turnout for municipal elections in Connecticut continues to be low, with 32.7 percent of registered voters going to the polls earlier this week.

Massachusetts gaming industry regulators are soliciting public comment on MGM’s proposed changes to the Springfield casino project.

In its most recent regulatory filing on the design changes, MGM says it expects as much as an 8 percent drop in casino traffic.

Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby and the other commissioners want to know the reasons for the proposed changes and the possible impact on jobs and revenue.

The top executive from MGM Resorts International reaffirmed his commitment to the Massachusetts casino project in Springfield this week and apologized for a communications breakdown with City Hall over a proposal to reduce the scope of the development. He also said more changes are in store for the $800 million project, but nothing he would consider major.

MGM Springfield

The head of MGM Resorts said the company made a mistake by not communicating a 14 percent reduction in size of the casino project to Springfield leaders.

After what Mayor Domenic Sarno described as “a frank discussion”, he said he accepts MGM’s apology for not giving him a heads-up about the casino design changes. MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren took the blame.

People entering North Adams will soon see new signs that highlight the past, present and future of Massachusetts’ smallest city.

Springfield Mayoral Campaign Drags to a Finish

Oct 29, 2015
Wikimedia

Many voters will head to the polls November 3 for local elections. There are tight races for mayor in some area cities. That doesn't appear to be the case in Springfield, where eight-year incumbent Domenic Sarno is being challenged by Sal Circosta, a relative political newcomer.

Uber has shaken up what it takes to get from point A to point B in cities across the country with a simple premise: If you need a ride, a driver nearby could pick you up within minutes.

Behind that idea is an algorithm, which promises to keep supply and demand in constant balance, encouraging drivers toward busy areas and tempering customer requests by increasing the price of each ride. It's called surge pricing.

This could be a pivotal week as officials in Springfield, Massachusetts determine how they will respond to the proposed downsizing of the casino planned by MGM Resorts.  The City Council is holding a special meeting this evening. City officials have invited top MGM officials to a meeting later in the week to explain the proposed changes.

Back9Network flickr.com/back9network / Creative Commons

Hartford’s Ethics Commission has begun a search for disparities between state and city rules that restrict the use of public office for personal gain.

Springfield City Council Reacts to MGM Changes

Oct 22, 2015
Karen Brown / NEPR

Most members of Springfield’s city council are expressing grave doubts about the credibility of MGM-Springfield, following the company’s decision to shrink its casino project by 14 percent.

Editor's Note: In some cities, transportation of the future may resemble the transportation of the past. From Washington, D.C., to Guangzhou, China, cities are looking to streetcars. NPR's Franklyn Cater looks at the struggles to revive them in Washington, while Anthony Kuhn examines the new technology that's up and running in Guangzhou.

New streetcars glide along tracks set into a grassy strip along the Pearl River in southern Guangzhou city. The first tramline covers five miles in the city's up-and-coming Haizhu district.

MGM wants to shrink by 14 percent its proposed resort casino development in Springfield, Massachusetts. The proposal surprised and angered the city’s mayor, who has been one of the project’s biggest boosters.

More controversial changes have been proposed in the MGM casino project planned in downtown Springfield

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis described the latest changes that will reduce the scope of the project by 14 percent as “tweaks.”

He said MGM will still spend in excess of $800 million to build the resort casino and he said the downsizing, will not impact jobs and projected revenue.

" So, we believe the project we are going to deliver will continue to evolve and will be a world class project," said Mathis.

Springfield, Massachusetts city officials were blindsided by the proposed downsizing of the MGM casino project. 

Springfield city officials Tuesday said they are concerned about the potential impact on revenue and jobs from the 14 percent reduction in the scope of the casino project.  Most of the downsizing is planned on the retail and entertainment side, not the gambling floor. 

Mayor Domenic Sarno vowed to hold MGM to its promises to deliver thousands of jobs and $25 million annually to the city.

MGM is scaling down the size of the proposed resort casino project in Springfield, Massachusetts

MGM is reducing the size of the project by 122,000 square feet according to a revised environmental impact report filed with the state.  

Although no change is planned in the size of the casino gambling floor there would be downsizing in the retail, dining and entertainment parts of the project.

Earlier MGM scrapped a planned 25-story hotel.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton said once again city leaders were caught off guard by MGM.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford's development director has resigned amid an investigation into allegations the city was overbilled on a project to redevelop a soccer stadium. 

More technology is being put into fighting crime in Springfield, Massachusetts. The city’s police department will become the first in the Northeast to use a system that developers say allows for true real-time crime analysis.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Bullets flew outside a campaign office of Bridgeport Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Ganim Thursday. Ganim has made reducing violence a theme of his campaign.

The candidate was not at the office at the time. There were no injuries reported.

MGM executives plan to update city officials within 30 days on the Springfield casino project.

MGM said in a news release Wednesday there would be updates on historic preservation discussions, concepts for a new marquee, and developments in offsite housing. 

Last month, MGM shook up city officials with a new design that eliminated a 25-story hotel from the $800 million project. 

City Council President Mike Fenton said MGM has to sweeten the deal with the city, to get the council to OK the new plan.

Israel has started deploying soldiers to cities in an effort to quell escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

NPR's Emily Harris reports that in recent weeks, at least seven Israelis and more than two dozen Palestinians have been killed.

As The Associated Press reports, the deployment comes after a particularly bloody day in Jerusalem in which Palestinians killed three Israelis.

The AP adds:

Leyda Quast / WNPR

More cities are recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day this year as they revive a movement to change the name of the holiday to celebrate the history and contributions of indigenous cultures around the country. 

The president of the Springfield, Massachusetts City Council isn’t giving up on getting a popular vote on MGM’s controversial casino redesign.

City Council President Mike Fenton said he’ll appeal to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to order a binding voter referendum on the proposed new design for the Springfield casino.

Fenton said MGM’s plan to eliminate a 25-story hotel from the project substantially changes the host community agreement Springfield voters approved two years ago.

A top official with MGM Resorts International Monday pledged the company’s strong commitment to building a casino in Springfield. MGM upped the ante by announcing plans to take a former school department building off the city’s hands and redevelop it.

Michael S. Gordon / Springfield Republican

Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the presidency to Massachusetts this weekend, speaking in Boston and Springfield. In a speech Saturday to a crowd of about 6,000 at the MassMutual Center, the U.S. senator from Vermont addressed an issue he hasn’t talked about much: gun control.

A top executive with MGM Resorts International will be in Springfield next week to publically assure the company’s commitment to build a casino in the city.

A private meeting between MGM President Bill Hornbuckle and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, with a press conference to follow, was arranged after MGM disclosed plans to eliminate a 25-story hotel tower from its planned casino and substitute a more modest hotel design. 

“Skyrocketing” construction costs were blamed for the change. 

There will be no voter referendum on the controversial changes proposed in the design of the MGM Springfield casino.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton, who had hoped to put a non-binding question on the municipal election ballot to gauge public opinion on MGM’s plan to eliminate the high-rise hotel from the casino project, withdrew his resolution.

" We ran out of time," said Fenton.  " I think it is unfortunate because I believe it deserved further review and consideration."

Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC

The city of Boston has filed another lawsuit in its attempts to derail a planned $1.7 billion casino in neighboring Everett.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Two-term Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch announced Tuesday he is dropping his bid for re-election. Finch said he will back his former rival candidate, Mary-Jane Foster. 

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