My name is Cheryl Balordi and for those of you who don't know me I am the fiancée of Selectman David Gay. On Tuesday, August 20th the town of Tewksbury has a huge decision to make on the proposed Slot Casino and well one would think that living in the same house David and I would always agree on the same issues but this is so not true. However, since this is a big issue and a lot riding on this I personally decided that in order for me to make a vote based on true facts and not hearsay I decided to do my own due diligence and find out what this truly is all about. So with that being said I told David that a trip to Bangor, Maine was in order, that I needed to see firsthand with my own eyes and ears from everyone in the area and know in my heart before I proceed I have all the facts not based on signs or assumptions before I place my vote on Tuesday at town meeting.
This week we planned a trip to Bangor, Maine and I don't mean a couple of hours, I said we need to stay in the area, see it at various hours throughout the weekend so that it would give a full picture of what goes on in the area and in the casino during the prime hours on a weekend. We arrived on Saturday at 11:00 am and immediately went to work. We first took a walk through the casino area taking notice of who the clientele was and noticed from 11:00 am until we left at 10:00 am this morning that it was adult couples from within the age bracket of 50 - 70, with very few adults under the age of 40. We then proceeded outside of the building and walked around the entire premises. The building was a respectful constructed property and my first impression is this looks like a small sized mall as in the Burlington Mall, Saugus Mall, etc. There was no indication by visual sight other than a sign indicating it was a casino. We then ventured off to the area restaurants and occupied buildings and spoke to several people and not one person had a negative comment about this facility as a matter of fact they were so enthused with praise of how well their businesses were booming as a result of the casino. Then we scoped out the traffic flow, in my opinion the traffic flow was significantly less than a normal rush hour or Saturday shopping along Route 38, an understatement in my mind.
Then at 12:30 we met with Mr. John Osborne of Penn National who is the General Manager of the Bangor facility. He personally took David and I on a tour of the entire facility, this included the casino and then the "behind the scenes" that the average person never gets to see. We toured the food preparation area, the entire administrative department and most importantly we got to see firsthand how the security department fully monitors the casino. The casino has two in-depth security monitoring systems where numerous cameras capture every angle of the entire casino, hallways, elevators, money counting areas, etc and can zoom in so close that we could actually read the numbers of the chips sitting at the blackjack table. Security is the number one priority of Penn National, they want not only the safety for all their patrons but their employees as well because the biggest prize of all with this company is that they are so "employee friendly" that I was completely blown away.
The Bangor facility employees 400 plus with great jobs, I mean jobs on all levels, full and part-time with great benefits, great employee incentives and tuition reimbursement for anyone that wants to continue their education. Jobs that I took note of were security, marketing executives, all types of administrative jobs, chefs, as well as a full maintenance crew that work the laundry area even to using their own company to do upholstery work. If there is a job to be had they make sure it is done on the premises. Then you have the obvious the cashiers, the money counters and those that work the casino floor. I mean there are great jobs for people to be proud of what they do.
On Saturday evening David and I went out to dinner in town all within walking distance from the casino where the restaurant was so busy we had over an hour wait and later was told by the waitress that business has flourished since the casino moved into town. Not only the local little spots were now booming but also a new convention center is set to open in September where they will have local sporting events for the area colleges as well as other notable shows such as Blue Man Group, Mamma Mia, etc. and they are even set to host the Republican National Convention which will supply even more revenue to Bangor. All this was directly related to Penn and their contributions to the city of Bangor. They also supply monies to other municipal departments such as the Schools, Police and Fire and the city has even been able to build new senior housing.
So in closing I want to say that the Casino in Tewksbury will clearly benefit the lives of the Tewksbury residents bringing in much needed revenue to the town along with 500 full and part-time jobs and as much as 1,000 construction jobs to build the casino.
I respectfully ask the voters of Tewksbury to join me on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 to vote YES on moving this casino through and bring the money to Tewksbury for the good of ALL our residents and community.