Source: Sacramento Bee, By Cathy Locke
The Wilton Rancheria announced Thursday that it has chosen the site of a half-built mall in Elk Grove as the preferred location for its planned resort and casino.
The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs will be asked to designate the 35.9-acre parcel along Highway 99 as the preferred alternative in the environmental impact statement, prepared in response to the tribe’s application to have the land taken into trust for the project.
“This is an important milestone for the members of Wilton Rancheria, the community of Elk Grove and the region’s economy,” the tribe’s chairman, Raymond C. Hitchcock, said in a written statement. “The resort and casino project will generate approximately 2,000 direct jobs, provide annual revenue for vital services such as police, fire, roads and schools, and support other community needs.”
The tribe previously filed an application to take into trust a parcel west of Highway 99, north of Galt. But the more than $30 million cost of constructing an overpass at Mingo Road “presented an insurmountable economic challenge,” Hitchcock said.
The Howard Hughes Corp., which owns the Elk Grove property, has entered into an option agreement for the sale of land to Wilton Rancheria. The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to build the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove on the remaining portion of the parcel, according to a news release.
The tribe intends to schedule a town-hall-style meeting in Elk Grove to present its plans to the community, solicit comment and respond to questions and concerns. No date has been set for the meeting.
The more than 700 members of the Wilton Rancheria are descendants of the Plains and Sierra Miwok, who lived in the Sacramento Valley. Tribal status was terminated by the federal government in 1959, resulting in the loss of 39 acres of land in Wilton. Tribal status was restored in June 2009