Source: The Galt Hearld Online
Wilton Rancheria recommends Elk Grove site as preferred alternative for its planned resort casino
Wilton Rancheria announced today that it intends to recommend that a 35.9-acre parcel along Highway 99 in the city of Elk Grove be designated as the preferred alternative by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), prepared in response to the tribe’s application to have land taken into trust for its planned resort and casino.
The Tribe will hold a town hall-style meeting, at a time and location to be announced, in the city of Elk Grove to present its plans to the community, solicit feedback and answer questions and concerns.
“This is an important milestone for the members of Wilton Rancheria, the community of Elk Grove, and the region’s economy,” said the Tribe’s Chairman, Raymond C. Hitchcock. “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.”
Previously, the tribe filed a land-into-trust application for a parcel west of Highway 99 north of the city of Galt. However, the $30-plus million cost of constructing an overpass at Mingo Road “presented an insurmountable economic challenge,” Hitchcock said.
The Draft EIS identified three potential sites for the resort/casino—Alternative A, near Galt; Alternative D, on the historic rancheria in Wilton; and Alternative F, in Elk Grove north of the future outlet mall.
“We look forward to working with Wilton Rancheria and engaging the community around this project,” said Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis. "If the proposed hotel, dining, shopping, and entertainment resort comes to our city, it will be adjacent to the planned Outlet Collection at Elk Grove and, together, they could create a powerful engine for economic growth."
The Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the property along Highway 99, has entered into an option agreement for the sale of land to Wilton Rancheria. Hughes plans to build The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove on the remaining portion of the parcel.
“We are pleased to have an agreement in place with the Wilton Rancheria that gives the Tribe a path forward with their plans for a resort and casino,” said Grant Herlitz, President of the Howard Hughes Corporation. “It should serve as an ideal complement to The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove.”
An EIS must be prepared by the BIA in order for the land to be held in trust for the tribe by the federal government. After the tribe is able to obtain land held in trust, a compact between the sovereign government of Wilton Rancheria and the State of California would be required before any gaming operations could commence.
About Wilton Rancheria
The more than 700 current members of Wilton Rancheria are descendants of the Plains and Sierra Miwok, who lived and prospered in the Sacramento Valley. Tribal status was terminated in 1959 by the federal government and, after years of struggle, restored in June 2009. Wilton Rancheria is the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County. In November 2011, the Tribe adopted its modern constitution, and since that time, tribal leadership has worked to improve the lives of its members and positively serve the community from its offices in Elk Grove.