At a meeting on September 7, the Ridgecrest City Council will decide whether to approve a request by the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe to purchase property in the Ridgecrest Business Park, located in Ridgecrest California, for a proposed casino or to modify a municipal services agreement already in place to reflect an alternate site for the casino, according to The Ridgecrest Daily Independent.
According to the news agency, Global Investment Enterprise Ridgecrest, LLC would pay $5.5 million to purchase 24.60 acres located within the city-owned Ridgecrest Business Park. Because of the property’s location, approval for the entertainment complex is required by the city. According to a separate agreement between the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe and Global Investment, the latter would operate the casino for the California tribe.
According to the news agency report, if the sale fails to close by September 29, 2017, the closing time can be extended by a year by the buyer for a fee of $56,100. If the sale is successful, the fee is refundable toward the purchase price of the property.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is required by the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act, which was implemented in January 2000, to place certain lands in trust, however, should the council decide not to approve the sale of that particular parcel of land, the law states that “another parcel mutually agreed upon” by both the tribe and the federal government can be placed in trust.
The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the native people of Death Valley, has a reservation in Death Valley National Park, located approximately 122 miles from the city in Kern County, but due to development restrictions contained in the California Desert Protection Act and the Rules and Regulations of the Park, the tribe has to look elsewhere for economic opportunities.
The City Council will decide whether to approve the sale after months of public meetings, two Municipal Services Agreement (MSA) votes, and controversy surrounding the proposal.