Revere casino supporters, foes share a tale of two cities

boston revere suffolk downs mohegan sun rendering
A conceptual rendering of the resort casino proposed by Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs for Revere.
Credit: Mohegan Sun/Suffolk Downs

Picture a Revere and North Shore with tens of millions of dollars in new and improved roadways, thousands of workers with well-paying jobs and a booming tourism industry.

Now picture, as the Rev. David Martinez put it, a “hell” where the problems of addiction, crime and traffic would continue.

Those were the messages from the sides pushing for and against a proposed casino in Revere in the final hours before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s expected vote on Tuesday. The vote will decide if a new plan to locate a casino on 42 acres of the Revere side of Suffolk Downs can move forward despite voters in East Boston rejecting an agreement and voters in Revere approving of it.

Martinez, of the Tabernaculo Evangelico in Revere, was joined by other faith leaders from Revere and East Boston on Monday to express their opposition to the new Revere-only project at the racetrack.

“In the community we’ve got enough already. We’ve got addiction, we’ve got crime … Gambling is one more on the list,” Martinez said, adding that the jobs the casino would bring wouldn’t outweigh the consequences that would also come with the project.

“In the beginning it will look beautiful, but in the end it will look like hell,” he said.

Rabbi Joseph Berman of Temple B’nai Israel in Revere said his concerns include traffic and if the potential jobs at the casino would pay a living wage.

“The bigger picture is that the casino would have a negative impact on the community,” said Berman. “If you look at a slice of it, it might look good.”

Proponents of the casino believe the proposal does look good.

Surrounded by municipal leaders from North Shore communities as well as members of local chambers of commerce, Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo on Monday led the group in speaking about the economic benefits the casino would bring to the region.

“It’s the jobs, it’s the transportation improvements and it’s the economic development opportunities that’s going to spur from this,” Rizzo said. “Those are the benefits, the local investment that’s going to be spent in our local economies, those are the things that excite me.”

Rizzo said he expects that Revere would get more than $15 million in payments from the casino. Officials also said that they expect the project would bring 2,500 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs to the city.

Proponents also talked about what Revere would look like if the state gaming commission voted against the casino plan.

Officials from Suffolk Downs had said earlier that the future of racing is in doubt without a gaming development at the facility.

If Suffolk Downs were to close, it would be “devastating,” Rizzo said.

“We still have a 36 acre parcel in the middle of our city that’s barren. So I shudder to think what could happen over here on another 52 acres in the city of Revere if we’re not allowed to go forward with this project,” Rizzo said, referring to the Wonderland Greyhound Park that closed in 2010.

Bob Upton, president of the Revere Chamber of Commerce, sees the casino as an opportunity to improve the economy of not only Revere, but the entire North Shore.

“Travel and tourism is a huge segment that’s going to be rejuvenated, no question about that,” he said. “Depending on what your prospective is you can paint any picture you’d like, but I personally think this is a great opportunity.”

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.


Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…


Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…


Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."


Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

The Word

The Word: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally…

Well, everybody, it finally happened. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went and got themselves hitched — according to noted scandal sheet the Associated Press —…


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


Giants vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

The Giants wrap up their extended preseason campaign Thursday night by playing host to the Patriots.


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…