Northampton receives $29,000 more in mitigation money

  • The MGM Springfield casino’s logo decorates the front facade on Main Street in Springfield, Mass.   AP PHOTO/CHARLES KRUPA 

Staff Writer
Published: 7/24/2019 11:06:18 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The city has received a $29,000 grant from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Community Mitigation Fund to pay for maintaining and monitoring a website designed to promote the city.

The amount is part of an award of about $4.1 million in grants that the commission approved July 18.

In 2017, Northampton received $100,000 in community mitigation money to ameliorate the impact that the opening of the MGM Springfield casino would have on the city by funding a marketing effort to attract visitors.

This effort ultimately resulted in the design and creation of the Northampton Live website.

The website and marketing strategy around it were created by Rhyme Digital, an Easthampton marketing company that will be running the site and analyzing information from it through the end of the year.

“So far, we’ve gotten really good feedback,” said Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz.

The $29,000 grant will allow Rhyme to continue monitoring and analyzing the site’s performance in 2020. Rhyme will also continue to do outreach to local businesses as part of the grant.

As to who will be running the site after that, the mayor said that the city is in discussions with the Northampton Chamber of Commerce about who will manage it.

“That’s a priority for us,” he said.

Although Northampton is the only Hampshire County community to receive money in this round of grants, a number of western Massachusetts communities and organizations were awarded grants as well.

The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department was awarded $400,000 for lease assistance for the Western Massachusetts Recovery & Wellness Center, which had to relocate because it was within the physical footprint of MGM Springfield. The Hampden County District Attorney was awarded $100,000 to mitigate the increase in caseloads as a result of MGM Springfield opening, while the Springfield Police Department received a grant for approximately $228,500 for equipment for public safety needs related to the opening of the casino.

Holyoke Community College received $300,000 for the continuation of the Work Ready program. Some of this funding will enroll up to 200 people in the gaming school through scholarships.

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority was awarded $25,000 to improve the use of and market its Loop Service in Springfield, while the cities of Chicopee and Springfield were awarded a $50,000 grant together to implement economic development projects, with an emphasis on downtown Springfield and Westover Metropolitan Airport.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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