The Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians has officially broke ground on construction of a new 50,000 sq ft bowling complex for its Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina.

According to a report in the Cherokee One Feather newspaper, the $13 million project is a joint venture between the tribe and Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise and is scheduled to open in late-2017 offering 24 bowling lanes spread across two floors alongside a bar, an arcade and food and beverage areas.

“It’s been proven many, many times in business that without growth and without change business would die,” Shawn Crowe, a member of the Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians, said during the July 19 ground-breaking ceremony. “I don’t want to take it too lightly and I think a lot of other enrolled members feel the same, that we appreciate what you, Harrah’s Cherokee, have done for us.”

The ceremony followed the tribe’s council passing a budget resolution for the new Cherokee-based facility in February while the Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians revealed that it will be responsible for $6.5 million of the building costs with Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise accountable for the remaining half.

“We’ve all waited a long time for this day,” said Patrick Lambert, Principal Chief for the Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians. “There’s been a lot of people that have come before that have worked to get this day here. Today is a very important day for our tribe and our casino enterprise. Today, we break ground on a new facility, a new bowling center that will serve our people and our casino customers. This project has been a long time coming and it will be delivered completely debt-free.”