Are Casinos on the Way in Maine?
In several states near the Eastern seaboard, casinos are showing their true value to the economies of their respective locations. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and others are seeing influxes of cash that stimulate their finances. One place that, on the surface, would seem to benefit from this good fortune is Oxford Maine; it’s had one for a couple of years now, and the hope is that the effects seen in other places will start to take hold soon. Perhaps the sheer lack of size is one reason – the population of the tiny municipality is just 4,200, which might qualify for a mere neighborhood in nearby Springfield – which has over 40 times more residents. Regardless, this hasn’t stopped the present casino in Oxford from becoming popular and attracting customers. John Williams, of the Oxford Hills, Maine Chamber of Commerce revealed in an interview with the 22 News I-Team that all the influx of visitors that was projected when the casino project was proposed, has been met. In fact, stores are springing up around the casino, with restaurants opening and retail clothing spots launching; possibly, even paving the way for a bona fide mall. Although, according to city council members, some of the hotels and other buildings that were promised have yet to spring up around the casino, there’s a good reason: Oxford’s utility system needs to be reconstructed. Since the project to do so has been underway for a short time, all signs point to this initial promise being fulfilled. In fact, one of the hotels that is sure to keep visiting casino goers in the city spending cash is being built as of late 2014. There are other changes to the city infrastructure that need to happen before the Oxford Hills casino can truly blossom in Maine. The rise in traffic – up to 40 percent so far – has been hard for the streets to handle. The rise in traffic has raised safety issues for pedestrians, and the city is working to alter the structure to better accommodate the load. When it comes to crime, the casino hasn’t had nearly as much of an effect as projected by naysayers. The police report just ten calls per month, with none of them being major incidents in the two year since the inception of the Oxford Hills’ Casino. The calls are almost always related to minor traffic accidents or blockages, with a minority being a drunken patron or trespasser. All in all, the only thing that seems to have really gone up significantly is new business, and more jobs for the city populace. Lastly, property values in the region surrounding the casino have tripled in many cases.
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