Charles Wood, recently elected chairman of the Chemehuevi Tribal Council, has made construction of a new casino and resort a priority. When elected in May, Wood said that he wanted to see construction begin on the California casino in 2016, but if recent events are any indication construction will begin sooner than later.

On July 25 the tribal council began the process reviewing term sheets for the construction of the casino. Once the closing documents on the loans are reviewed and approved, the project which has been a work in progress for the last five years will be underway. The final review should begin on Thursday, according to the chairman. Preparing the earth for groundbreaking at the Havasu Lake Hotel, Marina and Casino site would take place soon after the signing of the financial agreement, and should be expected to be completed within approximately 18 months of that time.

With only approximately 250 Chemehuevi living on the reservation, creating jobs would enable people to return to the reservation and begin the process of economic recovery that is a priority for Wood. According to the chairman, members of the tribe have been forced to relocate locally and beyond due to a lack of jobs and poor economy of the reservation, adding “We live just about everywhere. I have cousins who lived in France, and some Chemehuevi live in New York.”

The earth at the casino site will soon be made ready for construction by a San Diego geotechnical construction company; due to the amount of water in the soil the process is necessary. “They’re going to be dropping an 80,000 pound weight from 60 feet in the air, 2,000 times,” Wood said. “It’s going to be impressive.”

With no existing hotels on the reservation the new casino would feature a much needed 48 room hotel which would help to solve logistic problems for visiting families of tribal members as well as tourists visiting Havasu Landing, an issue that has plagued the reservation in the past.

In 1967 Havasu Palms Inc. leased the casino site property from the federal government, and the land/Havasu Landing wasn’t added to the reservation until 1974, which has been the primary source of revenue for the tribe since then. The Havasu Lake Hotel, Marina and Casino hopes to be the Chemehuevi’s second edition to their only other casino, the Havasu Landing Resort and Casino.

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