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Leaf Home arrow The News arrow North East News arrow New committee begins search for Fall River casino site
New committee begins search for Fall River casino site
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 08 February 2014
New committee begins search for Fall River casino site
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Jo C. Goode

FALL RIVER — A week after the principals of Foxwoods announced their interest in developing a destination resort casino in the city, the site selection committee — formed by Mayor Will Flanagan to help find land for the project — got to work Tuesday.

Fall River Office of Economic Development Executive Vice President Kenneth Fiola Jr., who is spearheading the committee, said the group held its first meeting Tuesday morning and was updated on the progress to find 30 to 70 acres of land.

"We've seen interest in the public at large and individual property owners," Fiola said. "We are essentially a contact point for interested parties." At a press conference last Tuesday, Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera and Flanagan outlined an ambitious 30-day timetable to identify a site for the $750 million resort casino.

"People realize this won't be easy but it's doable," Fiola said.

Fiola said Foxwoods requested the city's help and the task force was formed to be a central sounding point for owners interested in selling land for the casino.

Other appointees include Robert Mellion, president of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Jack Sbrega, president of Bristol Community College; Joseph Camara, City Council president; Joseph Viana, director of the Fall River Career Center; and Carl Garcia, chairman of the Workforce Investment Board and owner of Carl's Collision Center.

Prior to looking to the city for help to find land, Foxwoods had made offers on some existing properties, Fiola said.

With few 30-to-70-acre swaths of land in the city, one solution could be multiple property owners negotiating a deal with each other.

"There's a complexity when you're dealing with multiple owners," Fiola said. "We want owners to get together and provide us with options."

Flanagan is hoping to be the first community in the state to land a gaming company with one of three licenses in the state.

If Foxwoods can purchase a site, the issue will go to the voters as a ballot question. Flanagan has expressed confidence it will get overwhelming support and wants it before the voters as soon as possible.

The project's executives have promised the development will include a 140,000-square-foot gambling floor, approximately 20 restaurants, a 350-room hotel, a "name-brand" shopping mall, an entertainment arena, a convention center and spa and the creation of 3,000 to 5,000 jobs.

The committee is expected to meet again in two weeks, Fiola said.

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