Two Connecticut tribes are hoping to continue their efforts to build a third casino in the state by hosting a community conversation in Windsor Locks on Thursday night.
The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes have been looking to build the commercial casino at locations including Bradley International Airport and the Thrall Tobacco Farm on Old County Road.
"It's no secret that we believe we'll bring a ton of resources to whatever town is ultimately chosen and to the region as a whole," said Rodney Butler, Mashantucket Pequot tribal council chairman. "Especially now, when the state is faced with the possibility of additional cuts to municipal aide, the millions in tax revenue we would bring to a community will help to keep costs down and possibly lower taxes for residents. Working together with the community, we can build a sustainable local and regional economy that benefits everyone."
Mohegan tribal council chairman Kevin Brown said Thursday night's meeting would not be about renderings or a signed agreement.
"We want to be good neighbors, and a huge part of that is engaging local residents to hear their concerns and answer their questions," he said. :It's also a chance for us to clearly outline the positive elements we want to bring to the community, like the good paying jobs with good benefits that are so in need right now. We look forward to beginning this conversation next week, and to working with communities in the weeks and months ahead."
Local officials looked at the conversation as a means to get all the information they could about the plan.
"This meeting will provide all of us with an opportunity to become better informed and I appreciate willingness of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes to share their vision with the people of Windsor Locks," said First Selectman Chris Kervick.
Plans to build a third casino in Connecticut are a response to a casino under construction in neighboring Massachusetts. Those in favor of another Connecticut casino argued that a Massachusetts venue will threaten Connecticut jobs and revenue.
However, a group called The Coalition Against Casino Expansion in Connecticut presented some figures against that.
They cited a study that while casinos provide a brief initial burst of public revenue, the revenue can quickly reverse and decline.
Tribal leaders are hoping to open the casino by 2018.
The community conversation is set for 7 p.m. at the auditorium in Windsor Locks High School.
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