Casinos, ferries, and dinner trains, I’m beginning to wonder if Fall River takes itself seriously at all.
The recent idealism being generated from Government Center to revitalize Fall River is deficient of any wisdom and foresight. This should raise concern in whether the “powers that be” are serious in reversing 90 years of steady decline in Fall River. Granted, Fall River is in a “what
With everyone clamoring over the need for jobs, a sudden loss of common sense has taken hold. The revival of the ancient and discarded idea of bringing a casino to Fall River is unsound in light of what might be in store for the city: higher crime rates, more destitution, and an increasing number of nip bottles by the curb. Most people eager having a casino in Fall River overlook the current problems plaguing established casinos and the cities that house them.
Foxwoods, the largest casino in the western hemisphere, is in a dire situation with the casino over 2.3 billion dollars in debt. This was a result of the Pequots, owners of the casino, misjudging the market, borrowing too much and expanding unwisely, according to a New York Times article from March 14th. While Foxwoods is having its troubles, Atlantic City is faring much worse.
When gambling was legalized in 1976 in Atlantic City, it was to revive a slumping city that had been in decline for decades. This should sound familiar to anyone who has lived here. By the mid-1980’s, the city became the top tourist attraction on the east coast, due to the help of the casinos hosting sanctioned boxing title fights.
That was then.
Now, according to a Wall Street Journal story from March 13th, one casino (Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, formerly the Atlantic City Hilton) has changed its name three times within the last year in search of a new identity and new business as the city’s eleven casinos have been struggling for at least a few years. Nineteen dollar hotel rooms and 25-cent gambling chips are now common practices the casinos use to lure new customers.
Atlantic City’s troubles in recent years have also been attributed to more casinos opening in surrounding states. Life on the boardwalk was so dire that in 2010 New Jersey planned a takeover of the city and local government in order to reinvigorate the industry.
Place a casino in Fall River and you might have a job, but for how long?
The truth of the matter is the city needs to first fix the issues that are the building blocks of a successful city: public safety and education . That said, Mayor Flanagan’s proposals are not grounded in sound planning, and goes against what the evidence shows is happening in similar situations.
Simply placing a casino, dinner train, or ferry in Fall River is not going to bring people here if they don’t feel safe walking in public. Fall River is listed by Neighborhood Scout.com as one of the 100 most dangerous cities in the country (48th) and coupled with the rash of shootings and robberies of late and an understaffed police department, that stigma has no indication of changing for the better.
If Mayor Flanagan is serious about Fall River, he first needs to address the real issues stalling the city. A city with a strong education system conveys to people on the outside that the community is dedicated to itself for its future. The “Scholarship City” has had its troubles recently with under performing schools, teachers being reassigned, and embattlement between teachers and the city school administration. A city steadfast on education and keeping its citizens safe will appeal to businesses and people to come and locate here, not by dining on a train or working slot machines.
Fall River has to start thinking rationally and tackle the issues that are killing this city and preventing its growth, not be mired in delusion of itself. Then with level heads explore ideas that are well researched and have the veracity to work and provide sustainable jobs. What has been purported so far by Fall River’s establishment can only be interpreted as naive and fallacious.
Instead of meekly uttering its motto “We’ll Try”, I like to see the city fulfill a new one and state with brimming confidence, “We’ll Succeed.” In order to do that, we need to be serious…as serious as can be.