DANVERS — About 50 residents, many from the River Run condominiums, packed the selectmen’s hearing room in Town Hall last night looking for answers to a proposed slots parlor at the Liberty Tree Mall.
They came away with few answers other than that casino developer representatives will meet with selectmen individually or in pairs behind closed doors today so the board can learn more. There may be a public meeting on March 5, if, as Town Manager Wayne Marquis said, the Cordish Companies is still interested in Danvers.
Kimberly Donahue, a trustee of the development off and on for 20 years, said residents of the 127-condo community were upset because they feel that the development has been encroached on from all sides, including from trees that were cut with the reconstruction of the High Street interchange and Route 128, and a cell tower situated on mall property not far from residences.
“You have to understand, we have been through a number of situations, not the least of which was the cellphone tower, and we’ve had the highway and we’ve had the lack of vegetation along the highway. We’ve been made, or given a lot of promises in the past,” Donahue said after the meeting. “And, in some cases, with all the best of intentions, those promises have not been fulfilled. So, we represent just a small fraction of the concern, not just in the River Run community, but the adjacent neighborhoods as well.”
Traffic is a major concern if a slots parlor with up to 1,250 slots would be situated at the mall, and so are some quality of life issues.
“When you live there and you understand the access in and out, you understand it (the traffic) would be like two days before Christmas. And, to have the ambient light from 24-7 slot machines, and then you look at the kind of transient population that is going to be coming in and going out of there, we are going to need a lot more police officers, we are going to need a lot more vigilance. There’s just a whole host of situations that have concerns, really.”