Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos are planing huge developments in the small eastern Connecticut town of Preston.
The Mohegan Tribe has struck a deal to purchase and develop nearly 400 acres of the former State Hospital property, while the Mashantucket-Pequots, owners of Foxwoods, want to bring in a rock festival that would host 25,000 fans.
It has taken the town of Preston and the state 21 years to get a deal for someone to develop the 393-acre former State Hospital along the Thames River.
The Mohegan Tribe, owner of the Mohegan Sun Casino across the river from Preston, have agreed to buy and develop the property for non-gaming commercial use for $1. The state will kick in $10 million to finish the environmental cleanup.
"You always hear it's a win, win but I think this truly is a win, win," said Robert Cogdon, Preston First Selectman.
The town and the Mohegan tribe now have 180 days to finalize the deal. Mohegan plans on spending up to $600 million, creating up to 700 jobs. They would be bringing in hotels, a theater, an entertainment venue, restaurants, housing for 55 plus and much more. The tribe will pick up the tab and pay millions a year in taxes to Preston.
"It has the potential to more than double our grand list," Cogdon said.
The Mashantucket-Pequot Tribe want to put up a huge rock festival on the lad they own on Route 2 in Preston.
Neighbors in the area known as Preston Plains packed a meeting on Thursday night and were concerned about public safety. That's because Foxwoods and concert provider, AEG out of Los Angeles, want to host 25,000 rock fans this September with 15-20 artists in tents from noon until midnight.
Many neighbors don't like the sound of that many people packing a 41-acre field.
"This is just a small little town," said Richard Morin, of Preston. "The guy that wants to do this should do it some other, bigger place."
Town leaders said they're listening to resident's concerns.
"A whole host of issues; noise, public safety, fire, ambulance, all of those things as they should be," Cogdon said.
The plan for the rock festival calls for parking on one side of Route 2, fencing along both sides, then herding the concert goers to cross the busy highway.
"I think what everybody thinks, especially my age, is Woodstock and the ramifications they had when they had that concert," said Richard Vittorioso, a Preston resident.
Town leaders plan to meet Monday evening with Foxwoods and the concert promoter to get more answers. Next Thursday, the whole town will meet on the Mohegan Sun agreement and take a vote.
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