Public hearing scheduled for Jan. 29
By Bryan M. Gold - Staff Writer
The public may comment on a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for a potential casino that could be located in Galt’s sphere of influence just north of the city.
Wilton Rancheria officials seek to build a casino complex that includes 110,260 square feet of gaming floor area, a 12-story hotel with 302 guest rooms, a 360-seat buffet, a 60-seat pool grill, other food and beverage providers, a 2,600-square-foot retail area, a fitness center, spa, and a 48,000-square-foot convention center.
This draft EIS mentions three sites as possible locations for the casino. Tribe officials and the document indicate the preferred site is 282 acres bound by Twin Cities Road to the south, Highway 99 to the east, and the railroad tracks to the west.
Another site is the Historic Wilton Rancheria site on approximately 75 acres between Dillard Road and the Cosumnes River in Wilton.
The third site is just north of the proposed outlet mall in the southern portion of the city of Elk Grove.
All three sites are described in the document, which also notes that the tribe asked the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs to take the 282 acres north of Galt into trust. That would then remove the property from the Sacramento County rolls.
“It is a long, slow process, and this is just one more step to get land in the trust,” said Tribal Chair Raymond Hitchcock.
A “notice of availability” on the draft EIS appeared in the Federal Register, which is the daily journal for the U.S. government, on Dec. 29. That kicked off the 45-day review period for the 712-page document available online at www.WiltonEIS.com.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs intends to file the draft EIS after the public comment period closes on Feb. 12. A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29 in Galt.
Hitchcock said the 45-day comment period is an opportunity for the tribe and residents in Galt, Wilton or Elk Grove to comment on the process.
“The public hearing is a good opportunity for people to convey their message in a public forum on the aspects that the tribe is proposing,” he said.
At a public scoping meeting on the environmental aspects in late 2013, Tonya Caldwell, who is still a member of the Wilton Rancheria’s tribal council, said that the proposed casino presents a good opportunity for the tribe and Galt residents.
“When we found out that we could possibly have a casino project here in Galt, I personally became very excited,” she said while addressing the crowd of nearly 60 people.
Caldwell said she grew up in Galt, where three generations of her family graduated from Galt High School.
She mentioned working in Sonora, where she said Black Oak Casino made an impact in that community. The casino has produced revenue to build health and dental clinics, and Caldwell said students could get money from the tribe for projects.
“I’ve seen a lot of wonderful benefits that this casino has brought to that community,” she said.
The 6 p.m. public hearing on Jan. 29 will be held at the Chabolla Community Center, 600 Chabolla Ave.
For more information on the draft EIS or the process, contact John Rydzik with the Bureau of Indian Affairs at (916) 978-6051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.