In northern California, the Karuk Tribe is set to hold an official groundbreaking ceremony for the Rain Rock Casino later this week despite having already started work on the $30 million development.

According to a report from The Siskiyou Daily News, the federally-recognized tribe intends to hold a ceremony to formally mark the start of work on Friday morning although earth-moving equipment has been active on the site outside the small town of Yreka since June 6.

The Karuk Tribe revealed that its new casino is being built in two phases with an initial 36,000 sq ft building offering approximately 500 slots alongside eight gaming tables and a 100-seat restaurant with onsite parking due to be completed by the middle of 2017. A second stage would then add an additional 20,000 sq ft of gaming space for 300 slots and eight gaming tables.

The story of Rain Rock Casino goes back to 2004 and the Karuk Tribe has been forced to overcome numerous hurdles along the way including the ratification by state lawmakers of its gaming compact. The 3,700-strong tribe was additionally required to agree deals with county and city officials as well as with the California Department Of Transportation and hopes the coming venture will provide employment in an area that has been severely hit by a recent decline in the timber industry.

“We see this project as a major economic driver for generations to come,” read a statement from Buster Attebery, Chairman for the Karuk Tribal Council.

The tribe had initially planned to break ground in the spring but was delayed into the summer over a disagreement regarding how much compensation it should pay to Siskiyou County. Following the completion of an arbitration process in February, the newspaper reported that the Karuk Tribe must now decide whether to make annual estimated phase-one payments in lieu of taxes of $149,480 or hand over a $37,500 quarterly flat fee.

The agreement with Siskiyou County will moreover require the Karuk Tribe to establish a program to deal with gambling addictions and pay $2,500 each quarter to the jurisdiction’s Health And Human Services Department.

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