Wareham Tigers endorse casino proposal
The Wareham Tigers Athletic Association is officially endorsing Wareham Park, the proposed casino and racetrack facility.
The project could also include athletic facilities and a football field, which developers would negotiate with the town as part of a host community agreement.
The Tigers, a youth football and cheerleading organization, currently practice at fields owned by Wareham Public Schools, but have expressed frustration at the fee structure. This past summer and fall, the program struggled to find field space that was usable due to the restrictions on outdoor activities in the evening stemming from EEE risks.
The plans for the facility also include a new ballpark for the Wareham Gatemen, a college summer baseball team.
“Quality playing fields are necessary to support athletic and fitness programs that are so important to the development of young people,” said Jared Chadwick, President of the WTTA. “The Notos Group’s proposed Wareham project provides us with a great opportunity to provide reliable access to such facilities, but it’s an opportunity that can only be realized if the project comes to fruition, and the first step is passage of House Bill 4070.”
The bill referenced by Chadwick is one filed by Rep. Susan Williams-Gifford, would grant the Gaming Commission the authority to offer a slots-only license for the South Coast and Cape Cod Region, rather than the full-scale resort casino license currently available.
The bill was initially filed in October, and is currently being studied by the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, which will issue a report on the bill on Feb. 28.
“Southeastern Massachusetts has waited a long time for the promised economic and community benefits of a gaming facility,” said Damon Solomon, the WTAA’s Flag Football Coordinator. “We urge the Legislature to pass House Bill 4070 so that Southeastern Massachusetts and organizations like the WTAA can finally get in the game.”
If the bill passes, there are still a number of hurdles for the casino project. The Gaming Commission would need to decide whether to offer a slots-only license, for which Wareham Park would need to compete against other proposals. Then, the project would need to be approved by Wareham voters at Town Meeting and at the ballot box.
The developers, Notos Group, would also need to negotiate a host community agreement with Wareham. The host community agreement would include benefits for the town, such as athletic fields or a community impact fee.