TEWKSBURY, Mass. – On Tuesday evening, Tewksbury residents closed the door on the $200 million Merrimack Valley Casino proposed for 30 acres of commercial land off Route 133 near the Andover town line, Boston.com reported.
A special town meeting held at Tewksbury Memorial High School was attended by residents to decide on a proposal from Penn National Gaming to build a 24-hour slots parlor on land now zoned for commercial/research use.
Nine hundred, ninety-five residents voted yes, while one thousand, sixty-eight voted no, falling short of the required two-thirds majority needed to approve the zoning change.
Tewksbury officials argued the measure would have generated $4 million in new town revenue and taxes, along with the promise of 500 permanent jobs, in this town of nearly 30,000 in the Merrimack Valley.
The defeat was a major loss for organized labor, particularly the electrician’s union Local 103 whose members held “Yes For Tewksbury” signs since Penn National first unveiled its proposal in early July. Tewksbury police and fire unions also had endorsed the zoning plan, after Penn promised to donate $900,000 in grant funding for public safety.