TAUNTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - Taunton city officials and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe unveiled their plans for a destination resort casino on Thursday.
The proposed $500 million project is slated to be built on 146 acres of land at the intersections of Routes 24 and 140, at the Liberty and Union Industrial Park.
The project will be built in four phases over a period of five years, with the first phase consisting of the 15,000 square foot casino, at least two fine dining restaurants, a 400-seat international buffet, and a food court.
When finished, the resort casino will also feature three 300-room hotels, 10 to 15 shops, an upscale bar, and an indoor water park.
Officials say the destination resort casino would bring a boost to Taunton's economy. The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs, and 2,500 permanent casino resort jobs, with an average yearly salary of $35,000. But some say the proposal is too much of a gamble.
With casinos in Connecticut struggling, and a second casino proposed in nearby Foxboro, opponents fear the Taunton project may not bring the jobs and revenue it estimates. Other opponents fear the casino may be a drain on the local economy, as well as local law enforcement resources.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is firm that the project is the right size for the area, and will meet expectations.
The tribe is currently negotiating agreements with both the city and the state. The City Council will hold a meeting on Saturday May 5, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Taunton High School. The meeting is designed to provide residents with more information about the project, and an opportunity to discuss concerns. A non-binding referendum will take place on June 9.
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