This is not the first time that the center and Salem State faculty have responded to a local economic issue. The center has helped the town of Essex get funds for a river walk and is working with Peabody on a master plan.
“Our expertise has been the North Shore,” Krebs said. “... The challenge for us will be trying to design a model based on what we know of the North Shore and apply that” to other areas of the state.
The state Gaming Commission will soon choose a consultant, and the competition is stiff. Harvard University is also in the running. But Salem State has made it past the first round and is anxiously awaiting an answer.
Whatever happens, the center at Salem State plans to research the gaming industry and the effects it will have in Massachusetts, using both faculty and students on the project, even if it is only an academic study made available to interested entities on the North Shore.
It is an important, and suddenly relevant, topic.
“It’s going to impact this area,” Krebs said. “There are a lot of jobs that are going to be created. ... We think as soon as (the casino sites are) announced, you’ll see a lot of small businesses cropping up.”
Krebs admitted that not everyone at Salem State was enthusiastic about a research project on the gaming industry, but she and others felt that, if done right, a well-researched study could benefit the region.
“We look at it as a positive,” Krebs said. “If we can address the impacts as they happen, we’re far better off than just watching it go by like Atlantic City. ... We’re going in with our eyes open.”
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.