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Local business hosts casino forum

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Over the course of the year that Sal Circosta has owned Sal's Bakery in Forest Park, he's heard the casino buzz from patrons.

"A lot of people are excited, some people are concerned, they have questions. I feel my job is in a sense to listen to them," Circosta said.

But Thursday night instead of casual talk over coffees, Circosta brought MGM representatives to his patrons to get their questions answered.

"I want people to kind of be part of the process," Circosta said.

There were no empty seats as residents listened to MGM's plans.

Springfield property owner Betty Grimaldi said Thursday night's meeting has given her a new perspective.

"I didn't know anything about it, now I feel as if I've learned a lot," she said.

MGM reps walked the audience through their proposal - an $800 million resort casino that would cover a large area of the South End.

Chuck Irving, part of MGM's development team, says they're committed to working with small local businesses like Sal's Bakery.

"There will be many vendors and many folks coming downtown, and they will be going to Sal's Bakery, they will be going to La Fiorentina," Irving said.

City councilors at the meeting say that keep local businesses afloat if the city is awarded the license is a top priority.

"If we do get a new business opportunity like casino development, we can't put our current small businesses out of business," said Councilman Tim Allen.

Circosta says he just wants to make sure that his city is getting the best deal.

"What we need to see as community members, as business owners, as politicians, whoever in the city of Springfield, is we reap as many benefits as we can," he said.  

Sal's Bakery will host reps from Penn National Gaming next week.

They are proposing a resort casino in the city's North End.

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