Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

August 15, 2013

Town bracing for vote on slots

Crime, traffic top concerns as Tewksbury casino faces first test

The biggest problem on Jordyn Lane today is people cutting through the neighborhood to fish on Ames Pond, located just over the Andover town line in Tewksbury.

But if the Merrimack Valley Casino is built in their backyards, some residents are worried about a lot more than a few fishermen parking on their street.

They say the $200 million, 1,250-machine, slots-only casino could attract crime, worsen an already horrible traffic situation and generally diminish their quality of life.

Tewksbury residents will vote Tuesday, Aug. 20, at a Special Town Meeting on whether to modify zoning at 300 Ames Pond Drive to support Penn National Gaming’s casino proposal. The casino question will then go to a town-wide ballot vote Sept. 21.

While Andover residents don’t have a vote in the matter, many — especially those on the Tewksbury line — are carefully watching as the process unfolds.

Jordyn Lane resident Steve Wallingford said he could throw a rock from the edge of his property that would land where the casino is being proposed.

He’s concerned about the project for a few reasons — around-the-clock light shining through the trees, too much noise and crime.

“I think you’d be naive to believe we wouldn’t have those problems in our backyards,” he said. “That’s not even an exaggeration anymore. It’s very, very close, and I don’t care how clean they claim their operation is. It’s hard to control the sort of individual who frequents their establishment.”

Today, Jordyn Lane is a quiet cul-de-sac neighborhood of large, two- and three-car garage homes. With 11 homes on the street, the average property value on Jordyn Lane is $909,636, with the highest parcel being worth $1.4 million. The neighborhood was built between 1997 and 2001, according to assessing data available through the town website.

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