In the latest news from the upcoming Wynn Resorts in Everett, Massachusetts, the casino operator has turned its attention toward improving the accessibility of its new location. On Wednesday, Wynn stated in a filing that it would agree to pay $250,000 to fund a feasibility study for a footbridge across the Mystic River, which will separate the new casino from Boston’s metro system. If deemed feasible, a new bridge would connect Somerville’s Assembly Square to Everett, providing greatly improved access to the Wynn while decreasing the impact on the city’s traffic. A footbridge wouldn’t just be good news for the casino, however, as it would also provide improved access to a collection of biking and walking paths on either side of the river.
According to the filing, the Department of Conservation and Recreation will conduct the study, marking the second time that the organization will have looked into the topic. In 2009, the DCR estimated that a new bridge would cost between $5.4 million and $7.7 million, depending on which type of construction was used. Options ranging from a brand new structure to building on to an existing rail bridge were examined, but the 2009 study determined that, at the time, there was no cost-effective solution to the pedestrian crossing.
Wynn’s filing didn’t directly address who would pay for the bridge following the feasibility study, but outside parties are already pointing the finger toward the casino operator. Wynn, on the other hand, insists that it is only committed to financing the $250,000 study. According to DCR deputy press secretary Kevin O’Shea, Wynn hasn’t yet contacted the department about funding the study, but the department “continuously solicits proposals for potential public-private partnerships.”
Parties on the other side of the Mystic River have been less than thrilled about the upcoming Wynn location. Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who played a major part in the opening of the Orange Line metro station at Assembly Square in 2014, has been particularly outspoken against the state’s new casinos. In fact, Somerville, along with Boston and Revere, are currently suing the state’s gaming commission in an effort to block the casino construction.
While Curtatone indicates that he has supported a footbridge across the Mystic River for years, he notes that the proposal doesn’t change his opinion on the new casino.
“When it comes to extending… bike/walk options for the region, these are things we should be doing anyway, and it should not take a bad economic model like expanded gambling to get us to catch up with the rest of the world,” Curtatone said in a statement.
For Wynn, the bridge proposal is just the latest in a collection of initiatives designed to improve the area’s transportation options. The casino operator is also planning to pay $7.4 million to help cover operation of the Orange Line over a 15-year period, according to a recent filing.
With new headlines daily, the Massachusetts gambling scene is continuing to captivate casino enthusiasts around the country. Check back next time to find out what else is in store for the nation’s most recently legalized gambling market.