In California, officials in the city Elk Grove will be meeting later today to discuss how to move forward with a plan from the Wilton Rancheria to build a $400 million casino resort in the southern Sacramento County community.
Last month saw the incoming administration of President Donald Trump delay a land-into-trust application that the tribe had been granted by the United States Department Of The Interior and previous President Barack Obama. This action left the whole project open to cancellation pending the outcome of a sought after local public referendum being organized by anti-casino groups including one calling itself Council On Prosperity And Accountability.
At its Wednesday meeting, the city council for Elk Grove is to consider if it should authorize just such a referendum for as soon as June 6 along with whether to cancel an October agreement it signed with the Wilton Rancheria that gave the tribe permission to purchase 35.9 acres of land for the planned casino resort from The Howard Hughes Corporation.
According to a report from The Sacramento Bee newspaper, the federally-recognized Wilton Rancheria wants to construct a twelve-story hotel along with a spa, 30,000 sq ft events space, fitness center and casino offering 2,000 slots and 84 gaming tables. The land for the scheme lies within Elk Grove, which is located just south of the state capital of Sacramento, and is adjacent to a half-built mall that has been fenced-off ever since a previous developer went bankrupt in 2009.
The newspaper reported that the Wilton Rancheria lost its federal recognition in 1964 before regaining the designation in 2009 after 45 years in which its over 700 members struggled economically. Raymond Hitchcock, Chairman for the Wilton Rancheria, explained that more than 60% of the tribe is now unemployed and the proposed casino would present an opportunity for its members to become self-sufficient and enjoy services such as a health clinic and scholarships.