The Wilton Rancheria Casino & Resort Project, a project that started back in 2013, has seen its opening projection date delayed even further down the road, as it was initially projected for opening in late 2020, but now that date turns out to be a bit optimistic.
In a recent announcement from the Chairman of the Wilton Rancheria Tribal, Raymond Hitchcock, the long-awaited opening date has been pushed back with a year to late 2021.
Some Tribal Facts & Figures
The Wilton Rancheria Tribal was established in 1928 on 38 acres of U.S. acquired land in trust for the Miwok in Sacramento County and largely consists of descendants of the Plains and Sierra Miwok who lived in the Sacramento Valley.
Together with 40 other California Indian Tribes, Wilton Rancheria lost its federal trust in the 1958 Rancheria Act, followed by losing federal recognition in 1964.
45 years later, in 2009, the Tribe restored its federal recognition and two years after that passed its Tribal constitution.
At the moment, the Tribe has more than 700 members, with 40% of them under 18, 60% of which live in the Elk Grove Unified School District, and even these figures show what the Wilton Rancheria Casino & Resort project means for them.
Put on top of that 62% of unemployment rate, 38% of no health insurance and only 14% of College graduation rate and the picture painted looks doom and gloom.
For the Benefit of the Community
Out of the whole resort area, only 2.3% will be the casino floor, with the rest of it consisting of more than 300 hotel suites and guest rooms, spa and fitness area, pool area, restaurants and dining, retail outlet stores, movie theatre, ballroom, conference and entertainment venue.
In summary, the resort is expected to create a lot of jobs within a community with an unemployment rate tenfold compared to the US average one, and that casino project is vital for the future economic development of the people of the Tribe.
Legal Hurdles Along the Way
The latest announcement is just one in a series of blows for Wilton Rancheria casino project, as the casino watchdog group Stand Up for California! filed an appeal against a federal judge’s ruling on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s authority that had placed the land at Elk Grove into federal trust.
“The lawsuit has no bearing upon our ability to move forward with our project,” Tribal Chairman Hitchcock said.
Though he views the project as imminent, Hitchcock implies that the current appeal, together with the previous lawsuits from the same group against the tribe’s casino project, more or less affect the tribe in terms of finances and drains them down due to “frivolous litigation”.