Three hundred people, at least, attended last night’s Wynn Casino public meeting at Charlestown High School. The meeting lasted more than two hours, as representatives of the Wynn project spoke, then City of Boston officials and consultants, then local elected officials and residents.
Much was explained, about traffic flow and overflow, new uses of Sullivan Square — which is slated for extensive reconfiguring, dredging of the Mystic River, disposal of contaminated dredgings, public transportation, and noise impacts. Consultants illustrated their concerns about traffic queuing; Boston Transportation Commissioner Jim Gillooly weighed in on Sullivan Square’s competing outcomes ; District Councillor Sal LaMattina expressed that it was “very insulting that you (Wynn) don’t have an answer to the traffic problem.” A Wynn representative answered LaMattina : “It’s a 100 million expense that makes the project unfeasible. Others cause much of the traffic.”
^ “very insulting that you haven’t solved the traffic problem” — District Councillor Sal LaMattina
^ “would you prefer a stadium ? More people, no mitigation ?” — Mayor Carlo deMaria of Everett, the Wynn casino’s host city
And so it went. then came Everett Mayor Carlo deMaria, who, for me, commanded the night’s key moment. “You know,” said deMaria — reminding the audience that he had Charlestown relatives too and that “many of your families live in Everett” — “there’s noises and smells coming from both sides of the (Mystic) River. This project is the best for all of us. Mitigation and jobs.” Then deMaria delivered the bomb : “Others have approached me about use of that land ; scrap yards, a stadium — the New England Revolution wants to build a stadium there. Many more people. No mitigation.”
Sometimes it takes a slap down that painful to get a message across to people who fear the future. “Hey,” deMaria was telling them, “I’m the Mayor over there, 92 % of my people voted for this, I am gonna do it, and if you say no, I will build a stadium that you will like even less.”
The audience got the message. Some residents spoke in favor of the Wynn plan. As one resident said, “Wynn is the best casino operator we have.” Another pointed out that casino traffic was mainly nighttime, not rush hour. Of other objections to the Wynn casino, little was heard. It was Carlo deMaria’s night. And Steve Wynn’s.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere