The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) today unveiled preliminary plans for a casino development in advance of referendum votes in Freetown May 29 and Lakeville June 2.
The presentation before residents, scheduled for 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Apponequet High School, allowed the development team to present details about the project. Hundreds of residents were expected to attend the presentation.
The Tribe also held two “Meet and Greet” forums May 7 and May 8 during which residents commented on issues related to the project.
“We believe this proposal, with a design and scope that fits the area, will be very attractive to residents of Freetown and Lakeville,” said Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais of the Aquinnah Tribe.
“We are eager to work with the community to make this project a major asset to the economy and the region, with new jobs, new revenues for the towns and new opportunities for local residents and businesses.”
The preliminary design for the casino project shows a Phase I development with less than 50 of the 500 acres used for a casino, hotel, retail space and parking. The $167 million development would include traffic mitigation, road improvements and ample buffer space between the development and any retail or residential areas in Freetown or Lakeville.
The Tribe announced last week that a substantial portion of the 500+ acres it is eying for placing in trust would be protected from development. The Tribe intends to use some of the land for cultural and educational purposes.
“From the start we have worked very hard to be open, forthcoming and accessible,” said Andrews-Maltais. “We want to give people genuine, accurate information about the proposal. We are at the start of the process that will create a deep and beneficial relationship with the residents of Freetown and Lakeville.”
Said Kevin Dwyer, principal of KMD Development Group, the Tribe’s development partner: “We have been involved in numerous Indian gaming projects around the country, and the Massachusetts process provides ample opportunities for residents to comment and ultimately make for a better development.
“This is the ideal site, size, scope, and design concept for a casino project in Massachusetts.”
Editor's Note: Information comes from a Press Release