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Morse City of Holyoke
Office of Planning & Economic Development
November 28, 2012 Anthony Ravosa Vince Group 140 Glastonbury Boulevard, Suite 26 Glastonbury, CT 06033 Dear Mr. Ravosa: As you are aware, this week Mayor Morse indicated his interest to consider proposals for Gaming-Licensed Resort (GLR) projects, if locating such a resort in Holyoke presented a more favorable outcome for the City and region than a development of this kind close to, but outside of our borders. Understanding the mandated time constraints on developers dictated by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s (MGC) Phase I Application deadline on January 15, 2013, we are dedicated to establishing an efficient review process while ensuring a transparent and engaged discussion of the options presented to the City. The potential for a GLR to be located in Holyoke exists if such a resort can meet and exceed the criteria set out below which are based on the Mayor’s core principles, that he espoused since this issue was first raised. Additionally, while state legislation provides that the ultimate decision to vet development proposals rests with Mayors, the Mayor intends to immediately form a community committee to assist him in vetting proposals and to gather community input, in advance of the Phase II negotiations, which occurs after the January 15th deadline. This letter, therefore, describes those minimum principles, the criteria which will guide the executive’s review, subject to supplementation and improvement by community input. Additionally, this letter serves to establish a preliminary schedule for an initial review process prior to a Phase I application to the MGC. GLR Criteria to be Addressed A favored GLR project proposal shall be judged by whether it best achieves and exemplifies the following principles: 1. The Project shall be and detail how it shall be, not a convenience gambling location, but rather a regional tourist resort with gaming as one of its many amenities. 2. The Project shall address the potential negative impacts of gaming on the local quality of life, including but not limited to issues of addiction and crime. 3. The Project shall engage local ownership, make a sustainable and substantial commitment to all neighborhoods and provide for investment in the downtown. 4. The Project shall include and provide meaningful entertainment and recreation options other than gambling, and shall support local and regional entertainment options. 5. The Project shall not detrimentally impact local neighborhood traffic and shall fully mitigate any remaining such traffic.
ONE COURT PLAZA HOLYOKE, MASSACHUSETTS 01040-5037 PHONE: (413) 322-5655 FAX: (413) 534-2299 E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
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6. The Project shall have identified, addressed and minimized any and all infrastructure hurdles, impacts and or limitations, including but not limited to traffic, highway access, water, electricity and other utilities, and public safety. 7. The Project shall incorporate and utilize sustainable development principles such as, but not limited to, LEED certification, incorporation of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation. 8. The Project shall be committed to the revitalization of the City’s downtown and shall support, financially and materially, the City’s redevelopment initiatives. 9. The Project shall work with local partners on the hiring, training and promotion of a diverse and skilled local workforce. 10. The Project shall be committed to local business participation, with particular emphasis on minority, women and veteran owned business enterprises, both during the construction of said resort and its subsequent operation. 11. The Project shall enhance open space, recreation and natural resources and their utilization as well as mitigate and address environmental impacts. 12. During construction and operation, the Project shall maximize filling jobs with local residents, ethnic minorities, women and veterans, shall provide for labor harmony and shall commit to the payment of prevailing wages. 13. The Project should respect and reflect the history and character of its surroundings and City, including the integration of architectural characteristics and uses. 14. The Project shall reflect a true commitment to the people and neighborhoods of both Holyoke and the region. Once the Community Committee has been formed, these proposals and the criteria shall be vetted with them for further comment, as well as with regional communities and Mayors. MGC Proposal Requirements In addition, please have in mind that there are minimum qualifications required prior to seeking the approval of the MGC and negotiating a host agreement with the City of Holyoke. The following are several of the critical, but by no means all of the necessary elements that will be expected as part of each proposal: 1. Possess a team with proven experience in GLR development and operation. 2. Possess sufficient land control to develop the project. 3. Identification of all necessary local, state and federal permitting requirements, where applicable. 4. Identification of all traffic, access, utility and other impacts.
5. Provision of a plan for limiting, ameliorating and addressing the potential negative impacts of the development, and specifically its gaming component, on neighboring communities. Preliminary Schedule We understand and appreciate the limited time remaining to conduct our review of proposals. Therefore, we have developed the following preliminary schedule as follows, as it relates to your activities. While these dates are subject to modification, please set them aside in order to properly guide work over the following weeks: December 5 & 6: Initial meeting with staff from the Office of Planning & Economic Development, in order for staff to respond to any technical questions you may have relative to the process outlined in this letter. Deadline for submission of project concept and presentation by GLR applicants to the Community Committee Presentation of draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will describe the next steps, being the host agreement negotiation phase, responsibilities of the parties and necessary fees to cover costs of the City moving forward. Determination by Mayor if one or more project(s) meet(s) the initial threshold set by the Criteria set out above, and designated to enter into an MOU, in conjunction with the Phase I application in order to negotiate a host agreement.
In addition, understanding the time and budgetary constraints, the City requests that a grant be provided to the City in the amount of $25,000 by this Friday, in order to cover, and cover only, the City’s initial costs of reviewing the proposals to facilitate the appropriate level of review of your proposal. Receipt of this grant by Friday will allow us sufficient time to submit it for consideration and acceptance by the City Council for their meeting next week and any further delay. If you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact me at (413) 322-5575 or MarreroMA@ci.holyoke.ma.us. We ask that you refrain from communicating directly with any other City employee regarding this process, unless instructed otherwise, in order to avoid confusion and ensure each potential GLR applicant is equally and fairly treated. The City’s attorneys, if they determine it is appropriate to respond to a question, may require that the question be submitted in writing. Thank you for your interest in doing business in Holyoke and your understanding that the Mayor’s process will occur in the public eye and through a public process.
Director, Office of Planning & Economic Development