In it what is a big blow to the anti-casino group and their card room backers, the United States Department of Interior has issued a decision to place Elk Grove land into a trust for the Wilton Rancheria. There was concern that with a new administration that it could delay the decision by months or years, but the decision was made before the new president took office today.
No word on what is next for the possible referendum facing the Elk Grove City Council. They will make a decision on whether to place the referendum on the ballot at their next meeting. If they decide to do that, they will have to decide when to hold the election. By law they can wait until the next general election in 2018. A special election would cost upwards of a $1 million.
The referendum is on the council decision to amend the development agreement with the mall developer to allow the land to be sold to the tribe. The decision by the Federal Government could render a vote unnecessary.
The Interior action will lead to an end of 58 years of “landless” status for the Tribe, marks a major milestone in the project to build a resort and casino in Elk Grove.
ELK GROVE—Jan. 20—The U.S. Department of Interior has issued a Record of Decision to place 35.9 acres of land in Elk Grove into federal trust for Wilton Rancheria, which will end nearly six decades of “landless” status for the Tribe and mark a major milestone in plans to build a resort and casino adjacent to the planned Outlet Collection mall along Highway 99.
“After 58 years without a home, our people finally will have land,” said Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond Hitchcock. “This has been a long and hard struggle. We now can tell our elders that their blood, sweat and tears will have been worth it.”
“This marks a major milestone in our plans to build a resort and casino that will create vital, lasting benefits for the city, the region and our Tribe.”
The 1958 Rancheria Act terminated 41 California Indian Tribes, including Wilton Rancheria. After a protracted and tireless campaign by Tribal leaders, federal recognition was restored in 2009, making the Tribe eligible for mandatory land-in-trust.
“This is a great day for Elk Grove,” said former Mayor Gary Davis. “The resort and casino will help the city prosper and provide a strong catalyst for the Outlet Collection mall. Together, they will bring lasting economic growth and benefits for our citizens and for the region as a whole.”
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