Residents from the MetroWest area met at in Holliston Thursday night to air concerns and have questions answered as the construction of large resort casinos in Massachusetts hurdles toward reality.
Holliston selectmen Chairman Jay Marsden urged area residents to avoid a mindset of uncompromising resistance toward a casino, saying that towns should be willing to work with developers and state officials.
Massachusetts lawmakers passed legislation in November allowing for construction of resort casinos in the state, leading to a proposal of such a facility on the border of Milford and Holliston.
"The idea is that we should put ourselves in a position where we would have a voice throughout the process," Marsden said.
A casino in the state will not open for 3-4 years, State Senator Karen Spilka said while outlining some of the steps Massachusetts lawmakers are taking to reduce damage to communities.
"We want to keep local businesses strong and viable," Spilka said.
Taxes on gambling revenue will add to a fund aimed at mitigating a casino's impact on the communities surrounding its host town, according to Spilka. The fund will help address issues such as increased traffic and crime that could come with a gambling facility.
During the question and answer portion of the meeting, area residents spoke out against the casino and asked how to stop it from being implemented.
John Pibeiro, a Winthrop resident, asked the meeting's attendees to sign a petition to repeal November's legislation that permits casino gambling in the state.
"Why would you ever want something that requires mitigation?" Pibeiro asked.
"If in two years our property value tanks, what are we supposed to do?" Steve Guerrera, a Holliston resident asked.
Carolyn Dykema, Holliston's state Representitive, asked residents to stay on top of the issues and use their voices to influence debate.
"A good outcome of this meeting would be for you all to realize how important your voices are," Dykema said.