The parent company of Twin River presented few details to the Tiverton town council regarding its plans to move Newport Grand’s gaming license to Tiverton.
“Tonight we’re here with a clean slate,” said John Taylor, chairman of the Twin River management group's board, said at a town council meeting last night. He brought a set of maps that showed the site the company secured in Tiverton, about 400 feet from the Massachusetts border.
“You’ll find no pictures, or list of amenities to be included in a gaming facility," he said. "We really, sincerely want to get the community input to create a plan that might work for this town. Again, no preconceived notion on look, feel, size, amenities with one caveat."
Taylor said the company will not propose to build a $500 million destination casino on the 45 acres of undeveloped land in the town’s commercial zoning area. Taylor said the facility would be about a quarter of the size of its Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
“We want to work with the town directly to develop a program that it could potentially accept,” he said.
Taylor said the company does envision building a gaming facility with 1,100 slot machines and 30 game tables. The company plans to hold between 40 and 50 public meetings during the summer to gather feedback from town residents.
“We’ve already begun to line those up,” said Taylor. “In September, based on that initial feedback received through the summer, we will conduct 3 to 4 public workshops, where things like design, traffic, and environmental issues are considered.”
The company plans to submit several design options for the town council’s review by October and a feasibility study by November, before asking the council to put it on the November 2016 ballot.
Taylor said the proposed gaming facility would broaden the town’s tax base with substantial nonresidential tax revenue. He projected about $4 million per year. He also anticipates the facility would create between 350 and 400 jobs.
More than 100 people filled an auditorium at Tiverton Middle School to hear Taylor introduce the company’s initial plans. Taylor said town residents would have an opportunity to talk to Lincoln town officials about that town’s relationship with Twin River Casino. Tiverton resident Mike Walsh said that’s something he’s looking forward to.
“I will attend all the sessions they have on it to find out more detail,” said Walsh. “You know, we don’t know the size of the building. We don’t know what it will do to the police force, the fire department. There are so many details that are unavailable yet. But by the same token. I don’t see any real down side yet.”
Tiverton resident Linda Walsh was more reserved about where she stands. “There’s just not enough [information],” she said. “I mean, they mention a hotel, or maybe not a hotel. I mean, that’s big difference.”
Taylor said the public meetings would include conversations about having a hotel, but said the hotel idea would be taken off the table if it's unpopular with residents.
Tiverton resident Pat Curran was also reserved. “I think a lot of people are worried that they are promising a lot of things, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we might get other things we don’t want,” said Curran. “And they’re worried about that because once it goes up, we’re not going to have any say, so we have to say it now.”
The town council president, Denise de Medeiros, asked Taylor what would happen if the council turned down the company’s plans. Taylor said the process would end there.
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