Does Elk Grove have the winning hand for new casino project?

Source: Sacramento Business Journal

Elk Grove might get a new casino after a disagreement emerged among stakeholders earlier this week. But the odds, as gamblers like to say, remain long.

The Wilton Rancheria Miwok tribe wants to build a 12-story, 300-room gambling facility and event center on 282 acres north of Galt.

The tribe applied to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to convert the land to sovereign nation status, which still needs to be approved.

But the city of Galt has moved to annex that land and is trying to gain more control over the process, leading the tribe to begin looking at alternate sites. One of those sites is the “ghost” mall in Elk Grove — left unfinished when the housing crisis hit.

Elk Grove officials seem open to the $500 million project, although there haven’t been recent discussions with the tribe.

“We are certainly aware the tribe is developing a casino, and we know that Elk Grove is a viable alternative,” said Elk Grove economic development director Darrell Doan. The city has not taken a formal position on the project, primarily because the tribe’s top location is Galt.

If Elk Grove becomes the desired location, the city will obviously take a closer look, he said. “A project of that size will have impacts on the city.”

A project of that size also would bring a lot of amenities, said Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis. A large convention facility and a concert venue are part of the proposal, and those are attractive, he said — along with the 2,000 jobs it could bring.

The city would like to have a role in shaping the project if it is in Elk Grove, Davis said. He added, however, that tribal sovereignty trumps local opinion in many decisions.

“We would like a public dialogue,” he said.

Posted: Feb 2, 2016,
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Author: Editor